Last summer, Grinnell College swimmer Joshua Tibatemwa ’19 had the thrilling experience of competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This July, he had a strong showing on the international stage at the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Joshua Tibatemwa '19 in Grinnell's natatorium holding Ugandan flagTibatemwa, competing for his native Uganda, finished sixth in his qualifying heat of the 50-meter breaststroke Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in 32.77 seconds, and was seventh in his heat of the 100 freestyle Wednesday in 58.79.

Tibatemwa says he learned plenty from his Olympic experience, as well as his past season competing for the Pioneers.

“The Olympics taught me that small increments are important,” he said. “It’s great to have big dreams, but small steps are how you get there. So this season I have been focusing on those small steps I can make to get better... .”

He had been curious to see the results of his training Grinnell assistant coach Tim Hammond.

Tibatemwa knows the experience will be a big asset as he prepares for his junior season with the Pioneers. An added bonus this season will be his brother Elisha joining him at Grinnell as a student and member of the swimming team.

“Elisha and I haven’t been in the same school for about four years, so it will be interesting to see what happens,” he explained. “It will be nice to have him on the same swim team for more than three months at a time. Usually I could only train with him when I went home for the summer break. Also now I don't have to call and ask how he is doing.”

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