On Friday 4th of the afternoon in the shining eyes of the competitors. I saw determination, commitment, and joy. The obvious delight of the winners, and their pride as they collected their medals at the end of the day was clear for all to see. However, for me, even more wonderful, was the satisfaction on the beaming faces of the losers who had not given up, who had completed the races and who were cheered by all competing schools and clubs as they reached the finishing line. Also wonderful to see was the sportsmanship and emotion as competitors from rival teams hugged each other and exchanged reciprocal congratulations in total empathy with each other’s state of mind, a whirlpool of complex and conflicting feelings.
Bright and early on Saturday morning we welcomed more visiting schools. The opening ceremony concluded with a moving rendition of Tanzania’s national anthem led by Neema of year 10 whose warm, melodic tones filled the still cool air of this special day. Race followed race under the relentless rays of the sun hitting the inviting, crystal clear water of the pool. Finally, as the sun began to go down and the final race had been won, the medal ceremony began. There was an excited buzz, not only from the winners who ascended the podium to collect their medals, but also from the onlookers who crowded around cheering and taking photos and videos, anxious to capture this momentous moment for the family albums.
The gala concluded on Sunday morning with the final races and the final opportunity to take home the coveted medals. As the last race came to an end we waited in trepidation for the results. MIS didn’t win, but we came a creditable second both for the Spirit cup and for the Trophy, an amazing result when competing against schools and clubs from Dar and Zanzibar. We were happy to share in the pleasure of the winning teams: Wahooo for the Spirit cup and Dar Swimming Club for the trophy, and the day ended in an explosion of cheering, whistling and music.