Travelling 12,000 miles for 27 medals – St Felix School’s Tanzanian swimmers smash national records

St Felix School's Tarzananin swimmers Sonia Tumiotto, Aliasger Karimjee and Collins Saliboko

St Felix School's Tarzananin swimmers Sonia Tumiotto, Aliasger Karimjee and Collins Saliboko - Credit: Archant

A round trip of more than 12,000 miles is a long way to go for your national championships – but that is exactly what three swimmers from one Suffolk club put themselves through.

Was it worth it? You bet.

Sonia Tumiotto, Collins Saliboko and Aliasger Karimjee are all pupils at St Felix School, an institution with a reputation for the quality of its associated swim team.

The trio are all Tanzanian nationals and returned to the country last month for the country’s swimming championships in Dar es Salaam.

Their luggage was certainly a lot heavier on their return. A total of 27 gold and silver medals weighs a fair bit.

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Tumiotto, aged 14, only moved to St Felix in September last year. In a clean sweep of every event she entered she won 11 gold medals and broke 10 national records into the bargain.

Thirteen-year-old Saliboko moved to the school a year earlier. His haul of seven gold and one silver medal was accompanied by six national records, only missing out in the open 200metre freestyle to a US based swimmer eight years older than him.

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The third member of the squad, 17-year-old Karimjee, won two golds, six silvers and broke two national records, having spent around four years training at St Felix.

The three swimmers moved to Saint Felix after an initial request to help a talented swimmer from the International School of Morogoro for Aliasger, and then followed up with Collins joining from the same school.

Having seen the results from the boys Tumiotto then followed from the Dar Swim Club and a further two swimmers from Tanzania are set to join the school in September this year.

Director of swimming Sue Purchase and head age group coach Nick Thompson said they have been impressed by the swimmers attitude and determination to improve in both the pool and the classroom.

The formidable Tanzanian trio have already embarked on their next challenge, involving another long haul flight.

This time they have travelled to Dubai to compete in the Dubai Invitational Meet during the Easter break which will act as an Olympic qualifying event for the Tanzanian swimming team.

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