Saipan Swim Club founder and CNMI Sports Hall of Famer Bill Sakovich got a well-deserved recognition at the opening of the 12th Oceania Swimming Championships last Tuesday in Papua New Guinea.
Sakovich was introduced at the biennial meet as the “Father of Swimming in the Pacific,” a title given to him by the United Nations late last year.
“All I can say right now is I am extremely happy about it. It was announced here at the Oceania Swimming meeting, which I am attending with Team Hawaii,” Sakovich said in a brief message sent to Saipan Tribune.
The swimming legend was recognized by the UN for his more than four decades of coaching swimmers in the region and for volunteering his time and effort in various regional and international tournaments and clinics.
On Saipan, Sakovich and his wife Jean established SSC and helped train and produced swimmers that brought honors to the CNMI, including his son and Olympian Jon.
Sakovich also served as president of Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association (now Northern Marianas Sports Association) and was the lead organizers of other major sporting events in the CNMI, such as the Tagaman Triathlon and XTERRA Saipan.
He is now based in Hawaii and coaching Waiakea High School and Hilo Aquatics Club teams. In September this year, Sakovich will be inducted into the Class of 2018 of Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame, along with Ulirch Klinke, Shige Pabila, Altom Motobu, Mark Takai, Siu Lan Ellsworth, Charlie Oda, Ken Walsh, Catherine Kleinschmidt, Willian Neunzig, Anita Rossing, Dennis Rowe, Karlyn Pipes, Orlando Anaya, and Bob Via.