The CNMI’s Victoria Chentsova marked a personal best time in Day 1 of the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Chentsova competed in the 400m freestyle event of the biannual tournament last Sunday at the 12,000-seater Palau Sant Jord and broke the five-minute barrier, as she timed in at 4:59.78. The Saipan Swim Club member was on Lane 8 and Heat 1 and shattered her previous PBT (5:08.57) by 8.79 seconds. She completed the first 50m meter of the race in 34.38 seconds and submitted 1:12.08 after two laps. By the 200m mark, Chentsova’s time read at 2:30.23 and after three cycles, she clocked in at 3:08.37.
Thirty-seven swimmers joined the qualifying races in the 400m freestyle with Mexico’s Charetzeni Escobar posting the best qualifying time at 4:13.37. Katie Ledecky of the U.S. went on to win the event with a time of 3:59.82, as she was the lone swimmer in Sunday evening’s finals to complete the race under three minutes. Though she broke the four-minute mark, Ledecky’s time is still behind the world and championship records of Italy’s Federica Pellegrini, who logged 3:59.15 on July 26, 2009 in Rome.
Meanwhile, one more CNMI swimmer plunged into the pool in Barcelona during the opening day of the World Championships. Kensuke Kimura joined the 50m butterfly race, but missed a PBT when he timed in at 28.01 seconds. His PBT stands at 27.57 seconds. The Tsunami Swimming Center Saipan swimmer swam from Lane 0 and Heat 3 and defeated United Republic of Tanzania’s Hemed Hilal (28.25 seconds) and Gambia’s Folarin Ogunsola (28.50 seconds).
Russia’s Roland Schoeman had the fastest qualifying time in the 50m butterfly, recording 23.02 seconds, but Brazil’s Cesar Cielo won the gold medal in the event after clocking in at 23.01 seconds in last Monday’s finals. Schoeman missed the finals, as he finished 10th in the semis and only the Top 8 marched into the gold medal race.
Meanwhile, though he was disappointed with his performance in the opening of the competition, Kimura when interviewed by Alice McAlpine of The Reporters’ Academy UK said his failure to set a PBT in the 50m butterfly gives him more motivation as he races in his second and last event—the 100m butterfly—on Friday.
The Reporters’ Academy UK, a non-profit media production company, has forged a partnership with the Oceania Swimming Federation and will be reporting updates on the performance of American Samoa, Cook Islands, FSM, Fiji, Guam, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Tahiti swimmers competing in Barcelona.
More than 30 athletes from the Oceania Swimming Federation are participating in the swimming competition in the World Championships, including two more CNMI bets—veteran Rezne Wong and newcomer Angel De Jesus.
Wong will have his first event in Barcelona this morning (evening on Saipan) as he races in the 200m individual medley. His qualifying time in the event is listed at 2:11.23, but he holds the CNMI national mark in the 200m IM ( 2:10.18), which was recorded in the 2011 edition of the World Championships in Shanghai, China.
The 21-year-old Wong, who also represented the CNMI in the past three editions of the World Championships, will also participate in the 200m breaststroke tomorrow and will try to eclipse the CNMI mark (2:23.35) he also logged in China two years ago.
As for De Jesus, she will debut in Barcelona on Friday when she joins the 50m butterfly qualifying race. De Jesus’s PBT in the event is listed at 34.37 seconds. Also racing on Thursday is Chentsova, who will have her last event—the 800m freestyle—where she holds a PBT of 10:34.21.
De Jesus will the close out the CNMI’s campaign in Barcelona this Saturday when she competes in the 50m freestyle race. Besides De Jesus, who has a PBT of 30.98 seconds, six other swimmers from Oceania Swimming Federation will join the same event.