Saipan Swim Club’s Jinju Thompson and Lennosuke Suzuki and Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan’s Juhn Tenorio and Aika Watanabe were selected to represent the CNMI in the 18th FINA World Championships in South Korea.
The long course event will run from July 12 to 28 with the swimming races to be held from July 21 to 28 at the South Korea Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju.
The tournament is Thompson’s third world championship appearance and the most special, as it will take place in her mother’s home country.
“I’m very honored as always to have been selected. This is a special competition to me not just because it’s my third world championships but also because it is in Korea, which is my mom’s home country,” the 16-year-old swimmer said.
“I have been looking forward to this specific world championships since I was younger. Knowing that it’s going to be in Korea and having my family there to support me has been the motivation for my training these past few months,” Thompson added.
The competition in South Korea will come at a time that CNMI swimming is experiencing challenges, as the 50-meter Kan Pacific Swimming Pool is still closed. However, despite having to go through trying times, Thompson is sticking to the positives.
“The goal I have for this swim meet is just take advantage of the opportunity to race which I haven’t gotten in a long time. Without the pool it has been difficult to work on face sprints so I’m looking forward to just focusing on my strokes and mechanics and time-wise being within my best time pace,” she said.
“We have a really good team going this year, with mostly sprinters so I can’t wait to cheer them on in the fast and exciting races,” Thompson added.
Next month’s event is also special for Watanabe, as this will be her World Championships debut after she passed up on a chance to represent the Commonwealth in the 14th FINA World Championships (short course) in China last year.
“The FINA World Championship is the biggest meet out of all the other meets that I have joined. I am really nervous but I will do my best,” the Tsunami Saipan swimmer said.
Watanabe, Thompson, Tenorio, and Suzuki will be going to South Korea from Apia, Samoa, as they will also compete in the 2019 Pacific Games that will be held from July 7 to 21. Also on the CNMI National Team that will race in Samoa are Sophia Gauran and David Boyer.