The CNMI Swim Team broke its seed times in seven of its last nine events in the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships that concluded last Sunday at the Windsor Family Credit Union Centre in Ontario, Canada.
Christian Villacrusis and Salofi Welch each went 3-for-3 in the final two days of the competition, while Angel De Jesus crushed one entry time out of her last three races.
In the 100m freestyle, Welch clocked in at 57.65 seconds to better his seed time of 59.25. He raced on Heat 2 and finished in the Top 3 behind Tanzania’s Adil Bharmal (56.60) and Tajikistan’s Olim Kurbanov (57.65). The Commonwealth swimmer defeated five other swimmers in the 100m freestyle event, which saw Lithuania’s Simonas Bilis (46.58), Japan’s Shinri Shioura (46.59), and Australia’s Tommaso D’Orsogna (46.70) making it to the podium.
Villacrus did the same race and placed No. 7 out of 10 swimmers on Heat 3 after posting 57.38 seconds, which is more than a second faster than his seed time of 58.42.
In the 50m breaststroke, both Welch and Villacrusis competed on Heat 2 with the former having another Top 3 finish and the latter landing at No. 5 in the eight-swimmer field. Welch registered 32.70 seconds to surpass his entry time of 37.85 seconds and claimed the third spot in his group behind Cook Island’s Temaruata Strickland (32.32) and Nepal’s Shuvam Shrestha (32.45). Villacrusis logged 33.88, chopping off more than two seconds from his entry time (36.31 seconds). Russia’s Cameron Van Der Burgh (25.64 seconds) won the gold medal in the event, while Slovenia’s Peter Stevens (25.85) and Brazil’s Felipe Lima (25.98) got the silver and bronze, respectively.
In the 100m individual medley, Welch finished ninth after recording 1:06.25, while Villacrusis placed 10th (1:07.08) as both swimmers joined the Heat 3 qualifying race. Welch’s time was more than six seconds faster than his entry mark (1.12.76), while Villacrusis eclipsed his seed record (1.10.30) by more than three seconds. Canada’s Luke Patrick Reilly (56.53) topped Heat 3, while the U.S.’ Michael Andrew (51.84 seconds) and Japan’s Daiya Seto (52.01) and Shinri Shioura (52.17) gained the gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively.
Meanwhile, De Jesus raced in the 200m medley and was on Heat 1 of the women’s competition. She clocked in at 2:50.87 to rank third behind Vietnam Anh Vien Nguyen (2:10.69) and Singapore’s Samantha Ye (2:15.48) and beat Malvides’ Aishath Sausan (2:57.23). De Jesus’ time was more than two seconds better than her seed mark (2.53.04). Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (2:02.90) bagged the gold medal in the event, while the U.S.’ Ella Eastin (2:05.02) and Madisyn Cox (2:05.93) joined her in the podium.
In her two other events in the closing stage of the tournament, De Jesus finished seventh in the 50m freestyle (29.89 seconds) and ninth in the 100m IM (1:16.88). The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowiddjojo (23.60 seconds), Italy’s Silvia di Pietro (23.90 seconds), and U.S.’ Madison Kennedy (23.03) took the Top 3 places in the 50m freestyle, while Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (57.24), Australia’s Emily Seebohm (57.97) and Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson (58.04) prevailed in the 100m IM.
The U.S. topped the medal tally in the six-day tournament after hauling 30 medals—eight gold, 15 silver, and seven bronze. Hungary (7-2-2) and Russia (6-5-3) rounded out the Top 3.