Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan head coach Hiro Kumura believed that the future is bright for Shoko Litulumar and Hanx Xu after their impressive performance in the Inaugural Micronesian Swimming Championships in Palau early this month.
Litulumar won eight gold medals in the April 4-7 competition, while Xu had the same output, as both of them raced in the 12 and under age group. Litulumar topped the 100m, 200m, and 50m breaststroke 100m and 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke, and 200m individual medley, and was part of the CNMI Team that won the gold medal in the mixed 200m freestyle relay. Xu had three gold medals in the relay (400m and 200m freestyle and 400m medley) and reigned supreme in the 50m, 100, and 200m backstroke, 200m freestyle, and 50m butterfly.
“If Hans participated in more events, he could have won more medals,” said Kimura.
Xu had a tough battle with eventual U12 top athlete and teammate Isaiah Aleksenko and Kean Pajarillaga.
“Hans was concentrating on backstroke for a long time (more than 5 years ). I hoped to make him the backstroke champion(12 & under) in Micronesia,” the Tsunami Saipan coach added.
As for Litulumar, the 12-year-old was equally impressive in the inaugural competition despite having a fever in the opening day of the event.
“Shoko had a high fever after Day 1. But we were so lucky because she didn’t need to swim a lot in the morning session. She stayed at the hotel and kept taking a rest in her room. Once her temperature dropped, she left hotel and returned to the pool,” Kimura said.
In the next two days, Litulumar was still not feeling well.
“Though her stamina was getting weak, Shoko showed us her very strong fighting spirit, especially on her 200m freestyle, she swam behind a Marshall Islands swimmer up to 150m before getting the lead in the last 50,” Kimura said.
With Litulumar and Xu’s notable performance in Palau, Kimura is confident that they will continue to improve and deliver.
“It is important to note that Shoko and Hans are not that tall compared to other swimmers who raced in Palau. Tall swimmers definitely have an advantage. As they grow older and get taller, they will get even better,” Kimura said.
“These two swimmers produced amazing results in Palau and serve as an inspiration to their teammates, especially the younger ones.”