Akimaru, Chentsova extend reign in ‘Escape’


Saipan Swim Club’s Kento Akimaru and Victoria Chentsova ruled the Escape from Managaha for the fifth straight time.

Akimaru was the fastest male finisher in the 2.4-kilometer crossing from Saipan’s famous island to Micro Beach after clocking in at 38:06, while Chentsova topped the women’s field with her 38:31. Both swimmers’ times were just a few minutes behind their winning times last year (36:50 and 37:11) and they still beat the 40-minute barrier despite the tough course conditions last Saturday.

“The current was so strong and pushing me away from the course,” the 14-year-old Akimaru said.

“This year is one of the most difficult Escape from Managaha races I did. I was aiming to swim toward the side facing Mt. Tapochao, but the wind and current kept pushing me to the other side,” Chentsova said.

Chentsova and Akimaru came out of the water from the opposite direction with the latter leading several swimmers from the Hyatt side of Micro Beach and the former from the American Memorial Park side of the course. The course condition was so tough that some swimmers struggled getting out of the water first before recovering on their way to the shore toward the finish line. Volunteer kayakers also had to chase swimmers heading way too far on the Hyatt side of Micro beach, while some participants ended up taking a longer run to the finish line after getting out of the water.

Joining Akimaru and Chentsova in the Top 10 were Christian Villacrusis, who crossed the finish line with the latter, Taiga Sato (38:42), Angel Marie Tan (39:42), Lennosuki Suzuki (39:45), Angel De Jesus (40:40), Abby Carruth (45:39), David Boyer (45:43), and Jinnosuke Suzuki (46:11).

Fifty-five others completed the race, which drew 69 participants and nearly doubled last year’s total (35). Among the 55 other finishers were family members. R.J. Pierce (56:30) did the race with grandmother Carol Lynn Pierce (1:18:14) and so did siblings Jinju (46:13) and Jinie Thompson (1:02:30) and their father Colin (1:05:17), husband and wife Kathy (1:03:54) and Brad (1:11:00) Ruszala, husband and wife Goshi (1:11:25) and Atsuko (1:11:25) Sato and their daughter Ayaka (1:04:49), and Nami Kadokura (1:18:00) and her son Akira (1:01:47).

Another mother-and-son pair finished the race with Rinto Takahashi (56:32) finishing ahead of mother Kaoru (1:18:10), while Ricky Castro (1:13:24) came in ahead of son Erico (1:20:15). Husband and wife Joshua and Mamiko Berger finished the race nearly at the same time after posting 1:07:56 and 1:07:57, respectively, so did the son-and-father tandem of Richie (1:19:05) and Richard (1:19:10) Villagomez.

Completing last weekend’s finishers list were You Adrian Libayan (47:17), Dhurba Karki (48:53), Tony Stearns (51:01), Jomar Danas (52:22), Salofi Welch (52:44), Aly Martin (53:12), Eran Sheriff (54:50), MacKenzie Hampel (57:32), Fernando Java (58:05), Rintaro Miyawaki (58:17), Eric Abragan (58:57), Kaitlin Mattos (58:57), Taiyo Akimaru (59:07), Amrit Limbu (1:00:41), Britta Baechler (1:01:22), Claire Kelleher Smith (1:01:22), Nap Dizon (1:03:11), Caleb Leung (1:07:23), Christopher Tenorio (1:09:03), Avra Heller (1:09:59), Erin Kelle (1:09:59), Jacoby Winkfield (1:10:45), Roy Adsit (1:11:41), Megan Jungwiwattanaporn (1:14:12), Zach Frey (1:14:47), Allen Perez (1:15:06), Florencio Antonio (1:16:27), Ross Naughton (1:16:37), Tomomi Sato (1:19:42), Jennifer Kogure (1:19:50), Max Simian (1:22:01), Tiffany Lin (1:24:11), Yumiko Mizuno (1:33:36), Emma Perez (1:33:36), and Brian Flaherty (1:42:34)).

Meanwhile, SSC would like to thank Sun Rider, SeaVenture, Department of Public Safety, Coca-Cola/Powerade, and the volunteer kayakers for making last weekend’s race possible.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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