Swimmers bow out of Accra quietly

Could have done better. L-R: Atuhaire Ambala, coach Joseph Kabogoza, Tara Kisawuzi, Tendo Mukalazi and Tendo Kaumi at the Borteyman Aquatic Centre in Accra, Ghana. PHOTO/COURTESY 

What you need to know:

Ambala Atuhaire was also able to marginally lower the NRs for; 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke - his individual races.

Uganda's swimming team were due home yesterday evening from the African Games in Accra, Ghana.

Despite a brilliant start that came with Gloria Muzito's bronze medal and a 56.01 national record (NR) in the women's 100m freestyle last Saturday, majority of the other races for the five-man team were flat.

Ambala Atuhaire was also able to marginally lower the NRs for; 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke - his individual races.

The 50m back record belonged to Tendo Mukalazi - a 28.23 from the 2022 Africa Championships but Atuhaire took it down to 28.10 improving on his own 28.92 entry time.

Tendo Kaumi was in the same race and took his time down to 28.69 from 28.83.

Atuhaire also took down his 1:01.68 NR made at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to 1:01.10. In the same race Kaumi managed a 1:01.83 personal best (PB) from 1:02.44.

Atuhaire then completed his individual events with a 2:17.84 NR in the 200m backstroke.

Kaumi also lowered his 100m freestyle time from 55.86 to 54.85 but that is as far as improvements went for Uganda which also had Mukalazi and Tara Kisawuzi competing in Accra.

Huge miss 

Unfortunately, for Uganda, Jesse Ssengonzi could not travel from USA due to "weather issue that affected his flight," according to swimming federation president Moses Mwase, and he turned out to be a huge miss.

His 54.48 100m fly NR would have got Ssengonzi in the final but he would have needed to significantly cut time in the final to win a medal as bronze medalist Jackson Abeku, from Ghana, stopped the clock at 53.80. When the two met at the World Championships in Doha, Abeku came out top with 54.28.

Ssengonzi's absence also affected the relays as the men's relays had to be cancelled while personalities in the mixed ones also changed. 

The 3:40.25 that he, Mukalazi, Muzito and Kirabo Namutebi made in Doha's mixed 4x100m freestyle relay would have won bronze, ahead of Algeria and behind South Africa and Egypt, if replicated in Accra.

But the team that had Mukalazi, Kaumi, Kisawuzi and Muzito jump in, in that order, clocked 3:54.88 with 56.79, 56.23, 1:05.92 and 55.94 splits respectively in the heats to make the final.

In the final, coach Joseph Kabogoza switched Kisawuzi (1:03.51 split) and Muzito's (56.76) positions while Mukalazi and Atuhaire, who came in place of Kaumi, lowered their splits to 53.13 and 53.97 respectively as Uganda finished sixth in 3:47.37.

In the medley relay, Uganda clocked 4:17.30 in the prelims thanks to efforts from Atuhaire (1:03.15), Mukalazi (1:08.32), Kisawuzi (1:09.19) and Muzito (56.64) but they did not make the finals.

African Games

SWIMMING - How they performed 

Tara Kisawuzi

50m free - 27.95

100m free - 1:02.27

50m fly - 29.18

100m fly - 1:08.63

Gloria Muzito

100m free - 56.95 (prelims), 56.01 (finals, bronze)

Tendo Mukalazi

50m free - 23.79

100m free - 52.63

50m breast - 30.22

Tendo Kaumi

50m free - 24.60

100m free - 54.85 (PB)

50m fly - 26.79

50m back - 28.69 (PB)

100m back - 1:01.83 (PB)

Atuhaire Ambala

50m back -  28.09 (PB)

100m back - 1:01.10 (PB)

200m back - 2:17.84 (PB)

Mixed 4x100m relays

Freestyle - 3:54.88 (prelims), 3:47.37 (finals)

Prelims splits: Mukalazi (56.79), Kaumi (56.23), Kisawuzi (1:05.92), Muzito (55.94)

Finals splits: Mukalazi (53.13), Atuhaire (53.97), Muzito (56.76), Kisawuzi (1:03.51)

Medley - 4:17.30

Prelims splits: Ambala (1:03.15), Mukalazi (1:08.32), Kisawuzi (1:09.19), Muzito (56.64)