Li also 3-for-3 in 25m
Like the Chicago Bulls in the NBA in ’90s, Simon Shindo and Vivian Chung completed a three-peat in Saipan Swim Club’s final Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series after winning the finals 50m race last Sept. 25 in the waters off Civic Center Beach in Susupe.
Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan’s Shindo topped the men’s category in 1:23.67. He was followed by teammates Xing Chen Wang and Seungwoo Lee with times of 1:32.58 and 1:47.10, respectively.
Shindo said after dominating the 50m, he would challenge himself by entering the 100m in the next open water swim.
“I really enjoyed the ocean swim. I was looking forward to join the ocean swim again and next time I would like to try 100 meters. My target was to win the gold medal,” he said.
Wang cherished his experience during the open water swim. “I very much enjoyed joining this event with all the swimmers. It makes me greatly improve my ability. Also I feel very thankful for my coach’s guidance. I look forward to participating in other events in the future.”
Lee said he’s content finishing third in the final open water swim.
“I’m happy that I was third place. During ocean swimming, I expected to meet a stingray but I didn’t. My brother saw one and told me they flew in the ocean. It sounds amazing! I want to be first place next time. I love to improve my swimming at Team Tsunami. I am also very thankful to Tsunami Saipan coach Hiro [Kimura].”
Chung, another product of Tsunami Saipan, also made it 3-for-3 in the 50m distance for women. She arrived in the beach at 1:22.47. She was followed by teammates Catalina Frink in 1:27.06 and Sera Guerrero in 1:35.72.
The three-time open water champ in the half century race said the final open water swim was a pretty competitive race.
“During the race, I thought I would come in second. Still, I thought I had to do my best, so I swam really hard. When I crossed the finish line, I realized I was in first place. I was so happy. It’s an honor to be lucky enough to receive three gold medals for my first Triple Crown Open Water Swim,” she said.
Chung’s parents said it was a fun event to see the swimmers excited and ready for the final race of the open water series.
“Vivian was happy she won as it was a close competitive race. Thanks to coach Hiro, Tsunami Saipan, Saipan Swim Club, and all the parents and volunteers for the support and making these events memorable to the swimmers,” they said.
Frink said the final race was both fun and hard. “It was fun but it’s hard when there are people pulling my legs.”
Guerrero said practice paid off when she came in third in the 50m race. “Swimming practice in the ocean sometimes makes me feel scared but I’m glad I made this ocean swim meet. I’m happy to get third place this time.
In the 20m, Leo Li finished first in the men’s in 1:01.71, followed by fellow Tsunami Saipan swimmer Antonio Heras in 1:03.43 and SSC’s Shane Mabutas in 1:04.25.
Like Shindo and Chung, Li’s win last Sept. 25 also allowed him to sweep the open water series. “I like swimming and I’m happy I got the gold medal again. Thanks to coach Hiro also.”
“I felt very good and thank you for your lessons, coach. You are the best coach ever!” added Heras.
Andrea Ryu topped the women’s 25m in 1:04.55. Daria Shatskova was second in 1:11.31 and Fiona Yu third in 1:13.40.
Ryu’s mother was just elated she pulled off the win despite being sick days before the race.
“The day before the competition, my daughter had a fever and cough. Luckily her condition improved and the weather was good on the day. Through the three ocean swimming competitions, I think Andrea had an opportunity to gain confidence in swimming. She was very happy and satisfied with the results. Thank you all the staff and coach Hiro for helping the competition run safely,” she said.
Shatslova’s mother said their daughter was truly excited days before the final open water swim competition, but was a little worried after she missed a few practices due to a cold.
“She didn’t want to miss the race and it was important for her to participate. It was hard to predict the result, but she did great by concentrating and putting the effort during the swim. She was very happy to get the second place silver medal three times in a row. Dasha herself said she didn’t feel it was too hard, as the water was calm this time,” she said.
Yu said she’s beginning to like ocean swims more and more. “She’s adapting to the sea and she has been a lot more relaxed compared to the previous races,” her mother added.
SSC coach Richard Sikkel congratulated all the winners of the final Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series and said they were also fortunate that Tropical Depression 20W veered away from the islands a day before the race.
“The weather gods smiled upon us with fair conditions, flat water, and a double rainbow to start of the race. We had a total of 125 registrations. Times were fast with the flat conditions and this being the final in a three-race series,” he said.
Sikkel said he was also amazed with the improved times of all the swimmers.
“All swimmers knew what to expect and what they had to improve on to register a better performance. In the 500m the fastest time was just over 8 minutes, the 1,000m course record dropped to 12 minutes and 27 seconds, and the 1,500m course time to beat is a blistering 19 minutes and 25 seconds,” he said.