Tendo Kaumi and Karimah Katemba’s performance at the World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships in Netanya, Israel on Thursday could open a can of worms.
Katemba managed 34.50 seconds in the 50m backstroke, an event Ugandan swimmers rarely do at this stage. Only Avice Meya has laboured over the last one year and holds the national record at 31.72 from the 2022 Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey.
Before her, Kirabo Namutebi had the NR at 32.27 from the 2020 Cana Zone IV Championships in Botswana. Katemba who got her time down from 36.84 at the 2022 Zone IV in Zambia is nowhere near her more experienced colleagues’ times but her efforts in Netanya offer Uganda a chance to grow the international profile and improve the experience of more swimmers.
Kaumi on his end, currently has the best 50m butterfly long course (50m pool) time by any Ugandan swimmer at the international stage. His 26.00 surpasses namesake Tendo Mukalazi’s 26.62 from the 2021 Africa Seniors, Adnan Kabuye’s 26.54 from the recently concluded World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan and the 27.18 that Ambala Atuhaire made at the 2021 Cana Grand Prix in South Africa.
However, it is nowhere close to the 24.99 that is Jesse Ssengonzi’s time. The only difference is that the latter made his time at the April 2023 TYR Pro Swim Series in Westmont, an event that mostly attracts US professional swimmers and college students.
Kaumi also managed 24.18 personal best in the 50m free on Wednesday, beating his teammate Larry Greig Feni (26.09) in the process. Tara Naluwozi Kisawuzi also made 29.42 in the women’s 50m fly on Wednesday shortly before the four swimmers combined to make four minutes, one second and 93 microseconds (4:01.93) in the mixed 4*100m freestyle relay.
Kaumi started off in 55.71 seconds then Feni handed over to Kisawuzi after 58.57 seconds. Kisawuzi clocked 1:03.16 in the relay then Katemba finished it off in 1.04.49.
50m free – 26.09 (24.66 entry time)
4*100m free relay – 4:01.93
Feni: 100m free, 50m breast
Kisawuzi, Katemba: 50m free