Kirabo Namutebi, Uganda's swimmer

Uganda’s Olympian swimmer Kirabo Namutebi slashed the previous 50m freestyle national record and set a new tide (26.12:01 seconds) during the 2022 ISF Gymnasiade Games at the magnificent swimming pool of Stade Nautique in Caen city, France.

This new record came in the fourth heat of the six during the preliminary stage of the 50m freestyle girls event.

Namutebi had earlier opted out of the 50m breast stroke event when she registered to have swarm as well.

In the heat, she beat Yelizaveta Kazantseva (Kazahstan), Karolin Victoria Kotsar (Estonia), Ratkai Ratkai (Hungary), Mur Nait Amelija (Lithuania), Chiu Yi Chen (Chinese Taipei), Zaimi Kalliopi (Greece) and United States’ Chavis Paulina.

Come, the final, tensions were high. Kirabo had posted the fastest time in the all the six heats and she was purely the hottest favourite in the race.

Kirabo Namutebi and the team head coach for Uganda swimming side shortly after the heats race where she set up a new national record

After an impressive start in the first 20m, Hungary’s duo of Panna Nora Ugrai and Ratkai Ratkai surged forward.

By the final 10 metres, Cyprus swimmer Anna Hadjiloizou joined the trio and overtook Namutebi moments before finish.

Ugrai was best with 25:96:03, Hadjiloizou followed suit with 26:14 for silver and Ratkai scooped bronze with 26:26:02.

Sadly, Namutebi finished behind the medal bracket in fourth place with a slower 26:36:04.

The main swimming pool at Stade Nautique in Caen city, France (Credit: David Isabirye)
Warming up swimming pool at Stade Nautique in Caen city, France (Credit: David Isabirye)

Other Ugandan swimmers:

Elijah Joshua Lumonya Wabwire posted 34:76:07 in the fourth heat of the 50m breast stroke boys and failed to progress to the next round.

Elijah Joshua Lumonya Wabwire prepares self before diving into the water (Credit: David Isabirye)

In the same race, Ampaire Namanya was better with 34:30:08 in heat four but the time was not good enough for a berth in the finals.

Ampaire Namanya (Credit: David Isabirye)

Female swimmer Swagia Mubiru posted 38:72:06 in the girls’ breast stroke preliminary round, a timing that could not progress her to the finals.

Come the 100m butterfly boys’ race, Paul Settumba posted 1:04:39 in the fourth heat won by Turkish national, Eren Sezgin (56:32:4).

Lumonya and Settumba also raced in the 50m Freestyle races as Swagia Mubiru returned to the pool for the 50m freestyle in the third heat.

Uganda has so far won 5 medals, all in athletics at these games.

Two gold medals are for Loice Chepkwemoi (2000m steeple chase) and Maureen Chebet (800m).

A silver for Victor Cherotich (3000m) as well as two bronze medals for Priscilla Akello (800m) and Dolphine Chelimo (2000m steeple chase).

Athletics and other games continue on Friday, 20th May 2022.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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