The CNMI’s Kensuke Kimura had three record-breaking swims in the 2014 Oceania Swimming Championships held at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Auckland, New Zealand last week.
Kimura started his string of CNMI national marks in the May 20 to 23 competition via the 100m backstroke, as he clocked in 1:02.67 in the finals of the sprint event. The Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center member advanced to the finals after posting the field’s fourth-best 1:03.17 in the preliminary race and his finals time surpassed the CNMI national record (1:02.75) he logged on March 22, 2014, during the 2014 Saipan Swim Club International Invitational Meet at the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool. Kimura missed the podium in the 100m backstroke by just a notch, as he was ranked fourth but beat 10 other swimmers from Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. Australia’s Nicholas Groenewald ruled the event with a time of 56.68 seconds, while Hawaii’s Makoa Alvarez (59.16 seconds) and Fiji’s William Clark (1:00.93).
The 17-year-old Kimura’s two other national records also came from backstroke events—50m and 200m. In the 50m backstroke, he reset the CNMI mark twice. Kimura first submitted 29.08 seconds in the preliminary race to eclipse the old national record (29.13 seconds) he registered on March 21, 2014, during the same SSC-organized competition. Then in the finals, Kimura broke the 29-second barrier as he timed in at 28.94 seconds, the sixth best time in the field. Groenwald won the race anew with his 26.60 seconds.
In the 200m backstroke, Kimura missed the CNMI national record in his first attempt, as he posted 2:20.54 in the preliminary race. He finished third in the qualifier to make it to the finals where he earned his third national mark after submitting 2:18.04. Kimura’s time was more than a second faster than the previous CNMI record (2:19.12) he set on Jan. 19, 2013 during the 6th Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.
On top of breaking the CNMI record in the 200m backstroke, Kimura also made it to the podium in that event, placing third behind Groenewald (2:03.56) and New Zealand’s Bradley Ashby (2:07.30) and defeating five swimmers.