The four swimmers that the CNMI will be sending to the 15th edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships are all ready to represent the Commonwealth the best they can in the sport’s showcase event set from Dec. 16 to 21 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
CNMI head coach Hiroyuki Kimura said less than a month before the start of competition, Jinnosuke Suzuki, Juhn Tenorio, and Asaka and Shoko Litulumar have been practicing regularly and training expeditiously on their individual and relay events.
The Tsunami Swimming Center Saipan mentor said Suzuki will see action in the 200m freestyle and 100m freestyle, while Tenorio will be swimming the 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle in Abu Dhabi.
As for the Litulumar sisters, Kimura said Asaka will plunge in the pool racing in the 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle with Shoko competing in the 50m breaststroke and 50m backstroke.
In the relay, all four will see action in the 50m x 4 freestyle relay, while in the 50m x 4 medley relay, Tenorio will start first with the backstroke followed by Suzuki in the breaststroke with Shoko and Asaka completing the race with the butterfly and freestyle, respectively.
Suzuki said he can’t wait to represent the CNMI in the 2021 FINA World Swimming Championships in the Abu Dhabi.
“I will keep practicing and taking care or my body until the day of the race and hope that all my hard work pays off,” he said.
Tenorio believes that the CNMI team for next month’s FINA World Championships is the best the islands can assemble and all of them are aiming for high standard times.
“This meet will be the deciding factor for my college swimming. I am ready for the races and excited on the times I will bring back. I would really want to appreciate my coach and his wife for supporting us and keep us motivated every day. A very big thank to our pool and hopefully we can make all of our supporters proud,” he said.
Asaka admitted to having butterflies in her stomach less than a month before the start of the FINA World Championships.
“I am nervous and excited to swim all my events because I have not swum in an actual 25m or 50m pool in a long time. I am still mastering my freestyle form; however, I am ready for the challenge and I hope to achieve good results in the World Championship,” she said.
Like her sister, Shoko is also excited to compete in the FINA World Championships and can’t wait to share the pool with the world’s best swimmers.
“I am very excited to see the outcome for all strokes, but to have a satisfactory result, I have to train not only at practice, but at home. In my opinion, all strokes are hard, so I need to equally practice for all strokes. My coach has given me new drills to practice for my events, and my teammates gave me advice on how to fix my strokes. I will do my best and keep moving forward to reach the best I can be,” she said.
Aside from Suzuki, Tenorio, and the Litulumar sisters also flying to the Middle East accompanying the swimmers is Kimura as well as Northern Marianas Swimming Federation representative and Saipan Swim Club coach Richard Sikkel.