Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center’s Kensuke Kimura will be leaving Saipan for New Zealand this Thursday to represent the CNMI in the 2014 Oceania Swimming Championships.
Kensuke, who will be accompanied by his coach and father Hiro, will be competing in four events in the tournament that will run from May 20 to 23 at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Auckland. The 18-year-old swimmers will race in the 50m, 100m, and 200m backstroke, and 200m individual medley and he is aiming to make it to the A finals of all events and mark CNMI national records. Kensuke holds the Commonwealth’s national marks in the 50m (29.13 seconds), 100m (1:02.75), and 200m backstroke (2:19.12), while the 200m IM record still belongs to Rezne Wong, who clocked in 2:09.59 on July 31, 2013 during the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Incidentally, Wong was the CNMI’s lone representative in the 2012 Oceania Swimming Championships in New Caledonia.
“I believe that being able to compete at the Oceania championship is the best opportunity you can have as a swimmer in Oceania region. There have been only a few swimmers from CNMI who have competed in this championship in the past and I am really honored to be the next one. I want to thank NMISF, Tsunami Swimming team, and my parents for giving me this great opportunity,” Kensuke said.
“Racing with world class swimmers will definitely give me great experience, inspiration, and motivation and I believe these will help me out later in my swimming career. My goal is to break the CNMI national records for all the backstroke events and to make it to the finals as I look forward to bringing back a medal to Saipan,” the Grace Christian Academy student added.
Besides competing in four events in New Zealand, Kensuke is hoping to observe or even join practice sessions of the host country, Australia, and New Caledonia.
“We have already contacted some coaches of New Zealand, Australia, and New Caledonia. We would appreciate it very much if they will invite Kensuke to join in their national team practice before the meet,” said Hiro, who will meet separately with coaches to exchange ideas.
The event in New Zealand will be Kensuke’s seventh off-island competition (excluding Guam). He started his string off off-island tournaments in 2010 when he suited up for the CNMI Team in the Micronesian Games in Palau where he won six gold medals. The following year, he went to Tokyo, Japan for the FINA World Cup and returned there for the Tokyo Junior Sprint several months later to win a silver medal in the 100m IM. In 2012, he was also named to the CNMI Team that participated in the FINA Short Course World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, while in 2013 he was the Commonwealth’s lone representative in the Youth Olympics in Sydney and set the CNMI mark in the 200m backstroke in the Land Down Under competition. Also last year, he earned his second FINA World Championships stint, joining Wong, Victoria Chentsova, and Angel De Jesus in Barcelona.