The CNMI’s small delegation to the 14th FINA World Championships in China left Saipan last Saturday morning.
Swimmers Nelson Batallones, Lennosuke Suzuki, and Jinju Thompson headed to Hangzhou and were accompanied by Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Association representative Colin Thompson, who will also serve as coach of the lean squad. The three swimmers will be competing in the short course (25 meters) tournament that will run from Dec. 11 to 16 at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center in the Zhejiang Province.
Batallones will be racing in the 50m and 100m butterfly events, while both Jinju and Suzuki are entered in the 100m and 200m freestyle swims. The lone female member of the team will be the first to see action in the world championships, as she races in the qualifying heat of the 200m freestyle event on Dec. 11. Jinju will also compete in the second day of the meet , as she participates in the qualifiers for the 100m freestyle event.
The preliminary heats for the men’s 200m freestyle is also scheduled for Dec. 12, while Lennosuke’s second and last event—the 100m freestyle—will have its qualifiers on Dec. 15.
Batallones, on the other hand, will have his debut in the short course competition on Dec. 12 when he joins the preliminary heats in the 100m butterfly event. Then two days later, the Tsunami Swimming Center Saipan member will return to the pool to race in the 50m butterfly.
The tournament in China will be extra challenging for the three CNMI swimmers as they will compete there after having limited training sessions due to the closure of the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool and Super Typhoon Yutu, which struck Saipan and Tinian late last month.
Meanwhile, besides managing the three CNMI swimmers, Colin will attend the 5th FINA World Aquatics Convention that will be held on Dec. 8 to 10.