Jinie, Savita to compete in Jr. World Champs


Jinie Thompson, right, and Savita Sikkel will represent the CNMI in the 8th World Junior Swimming Championships to be held in Lima, Peru from Aug. 30 until Sept. 5. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

For the first time in its history, the Northern Marianas Swimming Federation will be sending swimmers to the World Junior Swimming Championships. Two swimmers will represent the CNMI in the 8th World Junior Swimming Championships to be held in Lima, Peru from Aug. 30 until Sept. 5.

Originally, Jinie Thompson, Savita Sikkel, and Anthony Deleon Guerrero were selected by the NMSF to travel to Peru. Unfortunately, Deleon Guerrero had to bow out at the last minute due to previously arranged travel plans.

The swimmers and NMSF are still looking for ways to raise money and find community partners to help fund their travel to Lima.

FINA will provide some subsidy for the NMI swimmers, but it being a Junior World Championship the level of support is not as much as usual. Paired with the large number of upcoming events (Oceania Championships, Short Course World Championships in Melbourne, Long Course World Championships in Fukuoka, Micronesia Games, and Pacific Games) so close together due to COVID-19 rescheduling and having just returned from Budapest, Hungary, securing adequate funding has been really challenging, according to CNMI National Swimming Team coach Richard Sikkel, who will be accompanying the CNMI swimmers to Lima.

Being a World Junior Championships he said the swimmers are not limited to a maximum of two events like they are in the World Championships, so Thompson and Savita Sikkel will both swim five events to maximize their time in the competition pool.

“This is a great opportunity for them to get as much competition pool time as possible. Jinie has been really hungry to improve and has worked hard in the pool since her return from Hungary, she feels she can improve on her times from Budapest. I expect her to do well and swim personal bests in her five events,” he said.

“Savita got to see the level of competition in Budapest up close as a spectator and has been excited to don the NMI colors and get in the water herself to see what she can do. Half of the work is getting over the jitters of swimming in a big event and treating it as business as usual. If they can do that, I fully expect Jinie and Savita to both perform at their best level and then take it up a notch,” added coach Sikkel.

Both NMI swimmers will compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m and 100m backstroke, and the 50m butterfly

Thompson said she’s honored to be representing the CNMI again in the junior world championships.

“It is the first time the CNMI will be present in this event, which makes it that much more special. It is exciting to see how I will do in my events and hopefully personal best times will be made.”

She said coach Sikkel has been pushing them to their limits in practice and making sure they are focusing on the events they’re set to swim in.

“We are going all out in training with hopes of dropping time and making the CNMI proud with each event we will be partaking in,” she said.

Like Thompson, Savita echoed how proud and excited she is to represent her home islands in the World Junior Championships.

“I feel honored to represent the CNMI as this is the first time we have gone to the junior world championships. I am aiming to improve my personal bests, gain race experience in general, and represent the CNMI to the best of my ability. In order to accomplish this we have been training and focusing a lot recently in areas that still need improvement.

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

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