NMISF holds first Development Meet

Posted on May 25 2023


From left, Moshe Sikkel, Maria Batallones, and Justin Ma prepare to start in the 50-yard backstroke event of last Saturday’s Development Meet at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan’s lap pool.(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation held its first Development Meet last Saturday, May 20, at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan lap pool.

The meet was hosted by Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center and head coach Hiroyuki Kimura said a total of 43 swimmers from Tsunami Saipan and Saipan Swim Club took part in the competition that consisted of two events—the tetrathlon and a 25-yard race.

“Tetrathon asks young swimmers to learn four strokes of swimming first. Swim only three strokes and you can’t participate in the tetrathon. If a swimmer wants to participate in the tetrathon, they need to practice four strokes. It would be great if young kids feel like that. Also, I would like the current young swimmer’s parents to understand that the swimming competition is held in the age group during the junior years.”

He said the 25-yard race was included to familiarize young swimmers about the rigors of actual competition. 

“The goal is to complete 25 yards. There are no violations or disqualifications, and all swimmers receive a ribbon right after the goal. We want all young kids to be encouraged by it and try moving on to the next stage,” said Kimura.

As for results, Leo Li topped the U8 tetrathon with 4 total points. He finished first in the 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, and 50m butterfly. Gabriel Walsh and Yoonmin Cho came second and third with 10 points and 16 points, respectively.

In the 9-10, Catalina Frink came first with 6 points followed by Shana Barman and Sera Guerrero with 7 points and 13 points, respectively.

Sari Barman, Maria Guerrero, and Haoyang Song were 1-2-3 in the 11-12 with 6 points, 7 points, and 13 points, respectively. 

Moshe Sikkel then edged Michael Miller in the 13-14 after the former finished with 8 points against the latter’s 10 points. Third place went to Justin Ma with 13 points.

In the 25-yard kick U10 mixed, Lauren Camacho was first in a time of 23.58 followed by Dylan Chen (25.28) and Juwon Park (25.67).

Camacho also won the 25-yard swim U10 mixed with a time of 23.50. Shane Matubas was second in 23.63 with Vince Seman Jr. completing the Top 3 in 23.80.

Kimura was pretty happy with how NMISF’s First Development Meet turned out.

“We believe it was a good opportunity for young swimmers. It was a frequent event in the days when we had the Marpi pool. Although it would be held on a small scale, we think it was really good that we were able to hold it for the first time in six years.  This kind of meet is very important in the development of NMI young swimmers. We look forward to the continued understanding and support from the swimming federation and the community.”

Kimura said, originally, he thought of holding the meet just for U12 swimmers, but due to requests, he decided to include the 13-14 age group. 

“The urgent need for this island is to develop swimmers under the age of 12. Girls can be eligible to be in the national team from age 14, and boys from age 15. So swimmers in the 13-14 age group have a clear goal at hand. This goes against the purpose of the meet which is named ‘development.’ However, for swimmers under the age of 12, there is no immediate goal right now. It’s very difficult to practice hard without a goal. Therefore, I want to restart the development meet,” said Kimura.

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

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