Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation president John Hirsh said the umbrella organization of all local swim clubs is welcoming the construction of a new 50m pool at the Oleai Sports Complex.
The Olympic-size swimming pool is part of the $21.2-million grant the CNMI government received from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
“We’re overjoyed. This is the first time a new Olympic pool will be built on Saipan in 40 years. The first pool was built in the mid-’70s when Kan Pacific took possession of that lease there and there’s not been a new Olympic pool built since then for competition. So this is going to be a brand new $4-million, state-of-the-art, 50m pool and centrally located. This is huge for the swimming community in the Commonwealth and we’re just so happy about it,” he said.
The new swimming pool couldn’t have come at a better time as local swimmers haven’t had a public pool to swim in since the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool in Marpi closed in October 2018.
Saipan Swim Club co-founder Bill Sakovich echoed Hirsh’s assessment of how big a new Olympic pool would be for the islands’ swimmers.
“This is huge, something that was needed years ago. You will need to hire a pool manager who understands and maintains, this will be extremely important. What a plus for Saipan aquatic sports, safety training, and swim lessons. Can’t wait to see it materialize for the sake of Saipan swimmers.
He, however, added that aside from benefitting the local community, it could also be a source of much-needed sports tourism dollars.
“With that pool not only will Saipan teams succeed, but also more Asian teams will come to train, money for us. In the past have had teams from Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. Next time the Olympics are in Asia, I would guess the pool would be utilized for their transition training,” the CNMI Sports Hall of Famer added.
Earlier, SSC coach Richard Sikkel and Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan coach Hiro Kimura also welcome the construction of the new Olympic-size swimming pool at the Oleai Sports Complex. Both said the central location of the new pool would entice more members of the island community to take up the sport.
Triple Crown this weekend
The second part of SSC’s Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series will resume this Saturday morning in the waters off Civic Center Beach at the back of the Guma Sakman/500 Sails Inc. building.
Like the first part of the NMISF-sanctioned open water series last July 10, this weekend’s race will feature 20m for beginners, 50m for intermediate, 100m for advanced, 500m open, 1,000m open, 1,500m open, and the 1,000m World Championship qualifier only for selected swimmers. An awards ceremony will be held after the race.
The 1,000m World Championship qualifier will chose the CNMI’s representatives for the 2021 FINA World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this coming December.
SSC coach Richard Sikkel expects a better turnout in this Saturday’s race compared to the July 10 competition. The third and last part of the Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series will be held on Sept. 25.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend’s race. Same place, same time, same format. Thank you to 500 Sails for allowing us to use their facilities and providing life guards for the event. Looking forward to see more of their swimmers join this weekend’s race! Thank you also to John Hirsh from the NMISF for supporting the event.”
To register, copy and paste https://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=247376&fbclid=IwAR1AaazqoHbLFoRMxJqioXhNPg8pdAmhHOz0XqxWtjFGFOxGv8a5JvU-aNw.