Gary, Yulia master ocean swim

Posted on Jan 27 2022


Gary De Guzman and Yulia Aleksenko proved that swimming is not only for the young after conquering Saipan Swim Club’s Pau Pau to Tanapag 3K last Saturday.

De Guzman, an assistant coach at SSC, was the first masters swimmer out of the water in the 3-kilometer race from Pau Pau Beach to the Tanapag boat ramp with a time of 46:02.

The 65-year-old native of Pampanga, Philippines said he could’ve completed the course in 40 minutes if he didn’t pace his students.

“I’m proud that even if I’m already old I could still compete and even finish first among masters swimmers,” he said in Filipino.

De Guzman, who was the longtime caretaker of the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool before the Marpi facility was mothballed a couple of years ago, said he attributes his swimming fitness to training at least five times a week.

“I’m a one-on-one instructor and in fact two of my students competed with me in this morning’s race,” he said.

Finishing second to De Guzman in the men’s masters is Tamio Nishikido who touched the sand in 47:43, while completing the Top 3 was Boboy Aguilar at 55:34.

In the women’s masters, Aleksenko finished 17 minutes ahead of her closest pursuer after completing the open water swim in 48:35. Coming in a far second in the women’s masters was Natalia Gvan at 1:05:16, while third place went to Chris Romero who timed in at a faster 46:13 but did so while wearing fins.

Aleksenko said the Pau Pau to Tanapag 3K was just another great experience in her swimming journey.

“This time only a few swimmers took part in my category so I had a chance to win. While swimming I kept thinking about my son (Isaiah) and was very happy to learn that he won first place as well. It’s definitely a very special moment for me,” said the 49-year-old native of Sakhalin Island, Russia.

On the conditions in the Saipan lagoon, the former Pacific Islands Club Saipan staff said the route was beautiful despite the surf being rough.

“The weather was fine. Water was cool and clear. Saw a turtle passed quickly and the current was strong. It was beautiful.”

Like De Guzman, Aleksenko said she swims an average of 4-5 days a week.
“Now that my work schedule starts early I could only swim before work. That’s why if I do go, it’s still are always dark and only for a short swim. Weekends are the time I could swim long distance,” she said.

The Pau Pau to Tanapag 3K was sponsored by the following: Law Office of Janet King, Kerri Bauer Yoga, Aqua Resort Club, Hibiscus Salon, Cha Cafe and Bistro, I Love Saipan Store, Mango Six, Zeno Corp., Aquasmith, Seawind, Sheila Mabutas, and Hardt Eye Clinic.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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