11 Tsunami Saipan swimmers off to Tokyo


The 11 Tsunami Saipan swimmers bound for Tokyo next month pose for a group photo during a break in their training session at the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool last week. (Contributed Photo)

Eleven swimmers will represent Tsunami Swimming Center Saipan in the Tokyo Junior Sprint 2017 that will be held on March 4 and 5 at the Tatsumi International Swimming Arena.

Siblings Ashley and Aasish Dangol are among them and will be joined on the squad by Maria and Nelson Batallones, Aika and Nanaka Watanabe, Juhn Tenorio, Sophia Gauran, Anthony Camacho-Deleon Guerrero, Hans Xu, and Isaiah Aleksenko. Each swimmer will compete in two events and with the club sending its biggest delegation so far in the prestigious tournament, Tsunami Saipan coach Hiro Kimura has set a high goal for the team.

“The goal is to surpass the results of the 2012 squad,” Kimura said.

Tsunami Saipan’s 2012 team that was captained by Hiro’s son, Kensuke, and also had CNMI age group record-holders Kaito and Ryuto Yanai, and Miku Tammy as members, won one gold medal, two silvers, and two bronzes. The crew also combined for eight finals events.

Ryuto handed Tsunami Saipan its lone gold medal when he topped the boys U8 50m freestyle, while his older brother Kaito gained a silver medal in the boys U12 100m individual medley. Kensuke also finished runner-up in the 100m IM (boys U15), while Tammy and Ryuto were ranked third in the same event.

“With the success of the Tsunami swimmers at that time, people in Tokyo called it ‘Tsunami Whirlwind,’” said the older Kimura.

With his 2017 team, the target is to get three gold medals, two silvers, and several bronzes. Hiro also expects the team to enter in nine final events.

“There is a strong possibility that this team will reach its target because it has four CNMI age group record holders and they have over AAAA grade times,” Hiro added.

The Tsunami Saipan delegates will leave Saipan for Tokyo on March 1 to have a few more days to prepare for the weekend tournament. In Japan, they will join more than 3,000 swimmers from the host’s various clubs and other countries.

The visiting squad will have Japanese Yasu Shibatsuji and Kosuke Maeda as assistant coaches, while Nelson Batallones and Yuko Kimura are the captain and team managers, respectively.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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