The CNMI’s Nelson Batallones and Lennosuke Suzuki debuted in the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 2018 at the Tatsumi International Swimming Center in Tokyo yesterday.
Suzuki was the first to plunge into the pool, as he raced on Heat 1 of the qualifying swims for the 100m breaststroke event yesterday morning and clocked in 1:17.36. The Saipan Swim Club member went on to advance to the B-finals and competed against the Philippines’ Timothy Yen (1:07.05), China’s Jia Song (1:02.13) and Yunsong Liu (1:02.69), Japan’s Ippei Watanabe (1:00.35), the U.S.’ Joshua Prenot (1:00.22), Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook (1:00.32), and Canada’s Eli Wall (1:01.55). Results of yesterday afternoon’s B-Finals race were unavailable at press time.
Besides making it to the B-finals, Suzuki also chopped off more a than a minute from his entry time (1:18.93).
In other results in the 100m breaststroke, the U.S.’ Andrew Lawrence Wilson ruled Heat 1 and also posted the fastest time among the 16 swimmers that raced in the event after recording 59.42 seconds. China’s Lizhuo Wang earned the second best time at 59.50 seconds and he and Wilson were joined in the finals by the U.S.’ Michael Andrew (59.55), Japan’s Yasuhiro Loseki (59.67), Brazil’s Luiz Gomes (59.74), Australia’s Jake Packard (59.81) and Matthew Wilson (59.90), and Canada’s Richard Funk (1.00.03).
In the men’s 200m freestyle, Batallones submitted 2:18.42 on Heat 1, which was won by the Philippines’ Jarod Jason Hatch (1:55.99).
The U.S. had a 1-2 finish in the overall ranking in the 200m freestyle with Andrew Seliskar and Townley Haas leading the finals qualifiers after registering 1:45.81 and 1:46.19, respectively, in their heats. The two Americans will race in the medal round against Australia’s Alexander Graham (1:46.35) and Clyde Lewis (1:46.54), Brazil’s Luiz Melo (1:47.19) and Fernando Scheffer (1:46.63), and Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto (1:46.42) and Naito Ehara (1:47.67).
Meanwhile, Suzuki and Batallones will have their second event in the 18-nation tournament today with the former seeing action on Heat 1 of the 100m freestyle qualifying races and the latter on Heat 2 of the 200m butterfly preliminaries.
Batallones is grouped with China’s Shuchang Zhou, the U.S.’ Zachary Scott Harting, Japan’s Daiya Seto and Yuya Yajima, Colombia’s Jonathan Gomez, and Brazil’s Iago Moussalem. Suzuki, on the other hand, will race against fellow islanders Noel Keane of Palau and Mark Imazu of Guam and the U.S.’ Seliskar, the Philippines’ Rafael Barreto and Armand Pierre Chan, and Oman’s Issa Samir Al Adawi.
Joining the two CNMI swimmers in the Pan Pac is coach Jacoby Winkfield, who is upbeat on Suzuki and Batallones’ performance and experience in the four-day tournament.
“The atmosphere here is electric, so many fast swimmers and every moment is an opportunity to learn and gain some valuable experience. I am excited for Nelson and Len and this opportunity,” Winkfield told Saipan Tribune.
“The CNMI had a successful first day of swimming. It is a bit unfair that the boys are being thrown into the fire here in Tokyo, with the top swimmers in the world at this meet. They are being forced to learn fast, adapt, observe, and react. Thus far they are doing a great job and representing the CNMI well. Thanks to everyone back home for their support,” he added.