In a remarkable display of talent and zeal, 13-year-old Neo Olengo from Seahorses Aquatics, Machakos, left an indelible mark in the Kiambu Inter County Swimming Championship at the Mpesa Foundation Academy Thika.
Olengo set a new personal best in the 50-metre freestyle after clocking 26.91 seconds.
Olengo’s feat is unique, considering his young age and the high caliber of the gala, which drew top swimmers from across Kenya. It was an indication of a bright future, potentially placing him among the ranks of Olympic competitors and record breakers.
His time, while exceptional, still has a potential when compared to world records. The current world record in the 50m freestyle of 20.24 is held by American swimmer Caeleb Dressel, and was achieved during the 2020 Olympics.
Even the legendary Michael Phelps’ best in this category stands at 22.93 seconds.
With the right policies and support from the relevant bodies, including the support of the government and effective policies by the Aquatics federation, Kenya’s prospects look promising.
Olengo, who is eyeing participation in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, is following in the footsteps of the swimming legend, Jason Dunford, signaling a resurgence in Kenyan swimming talent.
Kenya’s head coach to the upcoming 8th Africa Aquatics Zone 3 Swimming Championship in Kigali, Rwanda, Peter Mwangangi said the junior levels remain important when it comes to rebuilding sports.
“I admire the course that our swimming is taking and if accorded the proper support, we are bound to reclaim our glory on the regional and international stage,” Mwangangi said.
Exuding confidence that if well executed, this strategy will pave the way for assembling a strong team for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and strengthen national teams in various disciplines.