Four Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center members are heading to Japan this week to participate in the 2014 Tokyo Junior Sprint.
Leading the club’s bid to the annual tournament are returnees Kaito Yanai and Miku Tammy, while Takumi Sugie and Angel De Jesus will have their debuts in the event that will run on March 8 and 9 at the Tatsumi International Swimming Arena in Tokyo.
Yanai, who will be competing in the Tokyo Sprint for the third time, is entered in two events—the 100m individual medley and 50m breaststroke. Tsunami Saipan coach Hiro Kimura is expecting Yanai to medal in the two events after making it to the podium in his first two stints in the annual competition. In his debut in the Tokyo Sprints in 2010, Yanai won a gold medal in the 100m IM, while in 2012, the 13-year-old swimmer brought home a silver medal in the 100m IM.
Yanai was the second Tsunami Saipan swimmer to join the Tokyo Sprint. Kai Staal was the first one, joining one of the prestigious competitions in Japan in 2009 and claiming a silver in the 50m breaststroke and bronze in the 50m freestyle.
Other Tsunami Saipan swimmers who won medals in the past Tokyo Sprint were Kensuke Kimura, Ryuto Yanai, and Tammy. Kensuke took a silver medal in the 100m IM, while Ryuto bagged a gold in the 50m freestyle and bronze in the 50m butterfly. Tammy also clinched a bronze in the 100m IM in the 2012 edition of the tournament.
This year, Tammy will join the 100m IM race, again. The Tsunami Saipan head coach is expecting Tammy to win the gold medal this time in both the 100m IM and 50m butterfly events in the 11 to 12 age group.
In the 13 to 14 division, De Jesus will race in the 100m IM and 50m freestyle and she is pressed to advance to the finals of the two events. In the 15-and-over division competition, Sugie has only one event—the 50m freestyle—and Hiro Kimura is urging him to complete the sprint in 26 seconds.
“The last time we competed in Tokyo Sprint, we advanced into the finals of eight events and won five medals. Our swimmers will do their best to have good results in this year’s tournament,” Hiro Kimura said.
Joining Hiro Kimura and the four swimmers in the tournament that draws about 3,000 participants are assistant coach and Japan-based Shin Kimura, team manager Yoriko Sugie and official Miki Ordonez.