CNMI swimmer Kensuke Kimura will be racing in eight events in the 6th Australian Youth Olympic Festival and is aiming for at least two Commonwealth records in the five-day competition.
Hiro Kimura, Kensuke's father and coach of Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center, said his son will be swimming in two events per day at the Aquatics Centre of the Sydney Olympic Park. The younger Kimura will start his bid in the Olympic Festival, dubbed as the breathing ground of future Olympians, via the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke races on Jan. 17. Kensuke's next events are 100m breaststroke and 400m individual medley, while on Day 4 and 5, he will be racing in the 400m freestyle and 200m backstroke and 200m IM and 50m freestyle, respectively.
The 16-year-old Kimura is one of the 12 swimmers selected to suit up for the Oceania Team and join this year's AYOF, which will feature 1,700 athletes from 30 nations and will have competitions in 17 sports.
“This (AYOF) is a very high-level competition. It's a step closer to Olympics and a lot of new generation swimmers participate in this meet. So many Olympians were born from this event. It will be so hard for Kensuke to survive the finals because of the high-level swimmers competing there, so his goal is to mark at least two CNMI records,” Hiro Kimura said.
The Tsunami Saipan coach added that Kensuke is one of the only two young swimmers from the Commonwealth to have times faster than 500 FINA points, which is a requirement for athletes joining AYOF. According to the FINA website, “points are based on FINA Points Table, which assigns point values to swimming performances, more points for world class performances (typically 1000 or more) and fewer points for slower performances.”
“Only Kensuke and Angel Marie Tan have more than 500 FINA points. Angel was not selected on the Oceania Team because her qualified event is only 200m breaststroke and her FINA point was just 501. Kensuke holds six qualified events and over 540 points on some events,” the older Kimura said.
All is set for Kensuke's Australia trip next week, as he already received a copy of his itinerary and letter from Suzie Schuster, is one of the coaches of the Oceania Team. The CNMI swimmer will leave Saipan on Monday afternoon for a connecting flight in Incheon, South Korea. He is scheduled to arrive in Sydney on Tuesday morning and meet Schuster and the rest of the team at the St. Andrews College at Sydney University.
“The AYOF purports to be a great showcase of international talent and be part of a first class event. Your efforts and training have paid off and your qualifying times are quite competitive within the scope of the competition. It is really recommended that you get the most out of this competition as this experience is invaluable,” read part of Schuster's letter to Kensuke course through Hiro Kimura.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Ken in Istanbul and was impressed by his polite nature, his talents in swimming, and his overall character. It is a pleasure to have him on the team and I look forward to having him strive for personal best times and grow in experience at the AYOF,” Schuster told Hiro in the same letter. (Saipan Tribune)