Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation certified the age group records that three Saipan Swim Club members earned when they competed in the 69th Annual Keo Nakama Invitational at the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center in Hawaii early this month.
Kento Akimaru’s records in the 15 to 16 age group’s 800m and 1,500m freestyle along with Jinnosuke Suzuki’s marks in the 11 to 12’s 400m, 800m, and 1,500m freestyle events were made official by NMISF yesterday. Jinnosuke’s brother, Lennosuke, was the third SSC member to get his age group record (13 to 14’s 200m freestyle) certified.
The 16-year-old Akimaru broke the oldest age group record in CNMI swimming as his 17:37.61 in the 1,500m freestyle event surpassed the 17:41.15 made by former SSC member and Olympian Jonathan Sakovich 30 years ago. The CNMI Sports Hall of Famer registered the age group mark on Feb. 14, 1987.
In the 800m freestyle, Akimaru’s 9:12.52 eclipsed the 9:12.98 former Tsunami Saipan swimmer Kensuke Kimura posted on Jan. 21, 2012. Akimaru went on to get the top honors in the men’s 15 to 16 age group of the Hawaii meet held from June 30 to July 2, beating 28 other swimmers in the division. The SSC swimmer collected 60 points from nine events to place away ahead of Hawaii Swimming Club-Oahu’s Josh Lujan (40) and Pearl City Aquatics’ Matthew Takai (23 points).
In the 11 to 12 age group, Jinnosuke reset his own records. The 11-year-old swimmer’s 4:41.01 in the 400m freestyle was more than five seconds better than the old age group mark (4:46.40) he registered on March 25, 2017, during the 2017 SSC International Invitational Meet. Then in the 800m freestyle, Jinnosuke chopped off nearly 12 seconds from the previous record (9:45.51) he established also on March 25 this year, as he clocked in at 9:34.63 in the Hawaii tournament. For the 1,500m freestyle, the younger Suzuki timed in at 18:21.10 to shatter the 19.04.79 he logged on March 23, 2017.
Besides his record-breaking wins in the 69th Annual Keo Nakama Invitational, Jinnosuke also reigned supreme in his division, prevailing against more than 20 swimmers from Hawaii, Guam, Japan, and the U.S. mainland. He gained 78 points from 10 events to down Shota Ferreira (58 points) of Aloha Aquatics Association and Tyler Surratt (53) of Premier Aquatics-Texas.
Meanwhile, Lennosuke earned his first entry to the record books in the 13 to 14 age group after finishing the 200m freestyle race in 2:06.02. He broke the 2:07.15 Kai Staal submitted on Dec. 28, 2008. The older Suzuki was tied for eighth place in his division, which featured 24 swimmers.