Months after receiving well-deserved pats on the back from the community and government officials for their performance at the 2005 South Pacific Mini Games in Palau, and hearing promises of a new pool on the home front in time for the 2006 Micronesian Games on Saipan, the Saipan Swim Club is still making waves in the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool in Marpi—but that’s okay with them.
With a lack of funds in the government coffers and a lack of time for the construction of proposed new digs in Oleai, coach Michael Stewart and the local swimmers plan to make do with whatever is available next summer.
One proposal is that the water-borne competitors make use of the future 25-meter facility at the World Resort, but it still remains to be seen if the lap pool will be ready in time for the international competition.
“It’ll work. I’d prefer to go long course [50 meters] but it was good enough for Palau,” said Stewart.
The long course option is still available with the 26-year-old facility in Marpi, but just how long has come into question. In a report issued by Tucker and Associates, the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool falls one inch shy of the regulation 50m distance. Stewart said that the pool would have to be sighted by a professional survey crew to verify the report’s findings, but that the pool could still be utilized if corroborated.
“Yeah we could use it, but any records would come into question,” he said.
Aside from the battle of inches, the Marpi facility looks in desperate need of a facelift, but Stewart was optimistic that the “old girl” could be spruced up for the event with a minimal cost to the community.
“It wouldn’t take a huge amount to revamp it and spruce it up for the Games. First of all we need a new set of lane lines and reels. They go for between $300 and $400 per piece so we’re looking at about $2,500 or so there,” he said.
The coach also noted the need for a new timing system complete with the software, portable tents to shield the competitors and spectators from the sun, and something to remedy the crumbling starting blocks.
“The starting blocks keep breaking and can go at any time. They keep fixing them but it’s just patchwork. We’ve discussed a new starting block system but that can get kind of expensive,” he said.
Whatever the solution, Stewart and the SSC will put their best feet forward when the best swimmers from around the region come to challenge the CNMI at home.