Hiro: Target is to be best in Micronesia

Posted on Nov 25 2021
The CNMI National Swimming Team has kept practicing

The CNMI National Swimming Team has kept practicing with strict infection control measures less than a month to go before the 2021 the FINA World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Jinnosuke Suzuki, Juhn Tenorio, and Asaka and Shoko Litulumar have received their marching orders from national team coach Hiroyuki Kimura and that is to aim to be the best in the region for next month’s 2021 FINA World Swimming Championships set from Dec. 16 to 21 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“Among the countries in Micronesia, we want to take the top. We want to go into higher place than the Guam team in the relays. Oceania countries such as Papua New Guinea will also participate in the relay, so going up as high as possible in the Oceania region is also a target,” he said.

As far as national team members’ preparation less than a month into the FINA World Swimming Championships, Kimura said training is pretty much the same as usual.

“We don’t have any special training and just keep our usual practice this one more month. We’ve always kept practicing so that we can have an international swim meet at any time even if it is under COVID-19 situation,” he said.

Kimura also reminded his swimmers to be cognizant of the rules in FINA-sanctioned meets.

“For CNMI swimmers, it is also necessary to be careful the most about disqualification such as illegal stroke/kick/turn, etc. No matter how fast CNMI swimmer can swim, if the swimmer violates the rules on turn, he/she will be disqualified. Swimming is a sport, so swimming according to the rules is a priority for everyone,” he said.

Despite having no Olympic-sized pool to practice in since the closure of the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool more than three years ago, Kimura said he’s confident that his wards will perform at a high level in Abu Dhabi.

“As a swim team, Tsunami Saipan has calculation formula which converts the time in the unofficial pool to the time in the official pool. A professor of motion physics in Japan advised us how to calculate it. The formula is complicated, but very reliable. So, we understand which is our level in a worldwide level all the time. It becomes the most important thing for CNMI swimmers since the current situation where there is no official pool.”

The FINA World Swimming Championships being a short course meet also puts the CNMI swimmers at a disadvantage since most of them are used to long course competitions.

“This time it’s short course meet, but the first their target of this time is to mark a faster time than CNMI record which is set by long course meet. The time in short course is slightly faster than the time in long course. It is about milliseconds faster at 100m. The time in short course is a very useful reference. Shoko is a strong 200m breaststroke and 200m freestyle swimmer. She is one of the top distance swimmers in Micronesia. But this time I will let her try sprint event. It becomes big challenge for us,” said Kimura.

Northern Marianas Swimming Federation representative Richard Sikkel, who will accompany the four swimmers and Kimura to the Middle East, said the umbrella organization of all swimming clubs in the CNMI is at the beck and call of the CNMI national swimming team bound for the 2021 FINA World Swimming Championships.

“Behind the scenes the federation has been working hard on all the logistics to prepare for the world championships, such as travel arrangements, COVID-19 documentation, accommodation, team apparel, etc. The swimmers themselves under coach Hiro’s guidance have completed their selection for their individual event entries in Abu Dhabi. The focus for them now is to fine-tune their skill and timing in those particular events so they can put in their best performance and hopefully swim PBs and possibly bring home age group national records,” he said.

Kimura also thanked the following for their support of the CNMI national swimming team: 500 Sails for allowing them the use of their facility whenever they have open-water practice; Aqua Resort Club for letting the team use their diving pool for start practice; and Saipan Swim Club and coach Richard Sikkel for helping them practice in the ocean and conduct joint practice.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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