NMISF: 2 more years before Marpi pool can be used
Already without an Olympic-size pool since late 2018, Saipan’s swimmers will have to wait a little longer as E-Land Group is still in the thick of negotiations with the Department of Public Lands to take over the former Mariana Resort & Spa property that includes the Marpi pool.
Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation vice president John Hirsh said E-Land is in the process of developing a plan on how they’re going to incorporate the pool in their property. However, he admitted that E-Land and DPL are still talking and the former would still need time before it reopens the former Kan Pacific Swimming Pool in Marpi.
“The downside is it may take a while so it’s probably going to take another two years before our pool gets reopened up there just because due to the fact that they’re working on the plan and the schematics on their development,” he said.
Hirsh, who helped coordinate the Saipan Swim Club’s Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series in the waters off Civic Center beach in Oleai last July 10, said while he’s happy that island swimmers are again back in the water an Olympic-size pool is no question crucial in developing the CNMI’s national swimming program.
“The pool is a big deal because our swimmers need to be training in a formal pool setting and it’s unfortunate that we don’t have one just now and this is the best thing we can do and at least it gets the kids in the water. The downside is they don’t get the official length of 25m and they also don’t get an opportunity to practice their turns which is a critical thing in any sort of swim race,” he said.
Just the same, the longtime NMISF official said he’s just happy that swimming is back on island after the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to all competition in March 2020.
“It’s more than a year and a half and we’re so pleased and you could see the huge turnout. I thank the swim clubs really—Saipan Swim Club, Tsunami Saipan, Dolphin Swim Club—for really keeping the energy going and all get a gold star. All of them through thick and thin and through dark clouds and bright sunshine kept their programs going so it’s really incredible,” he said.
He said the reason NMISF organized the event was to give the young swimmers an opportunity to race and be in the water in a more formal setting. However, the biggest reason was the Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series served as a qualifying event for sending four swimmers to the 2021 FINA World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this coming December.
“We’re very fortunate that FINA supports the travel and the funding to send these athletes there and so we’re really blessed. We’re sending two makes and two females.”
The Marpi pool has been closed since Oct. 1, 2018. It has been shuttered since the end of the lease of Kan Pacific Saipan Ltd., which used to operate Mariana Resort & Spa and maintained the Marpi pool as part of its lease agreement with DPL.