CNMI swimmer Lennosuke Suzuki may have set a personal best time in the 14th FINA World Championships in China, but he believes he could have performed better if he had enough training time in an appropriate facility.
“I swam in two events in China. In the 200meter freestyle, I had a time of 2:06.54, which was not a PB and I was disappointed. Then in the 100meter freestyle, I got the time of 56.91 seconds, which was a best time that I was pretty happy about,” said Suzuki, who was joined in the short course competition early this month by fellow Saipan Swim Club member Jinju Thompson and Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan’s Nelson Batallones.
The three swimmers’ preparation for the world championships was limited with the closure of the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool in Marpi last Sept. 30 and after Saipan was flattened by Super Typhoon Yutu late October. Suzuki and Thompson practiced in open water, while Batallones had his separate training with Tsunami Saipan in a hotel pool.
“I just wanted to point out that I think the pool would have really helped me to compete better. Even though we can train in the ocean, without a real pool I am struggling to swim faster,” the 16-year-old said.
Suzuki is hoping that the Marpi pool will resume operation next year, as CNMI swimmers are scheduled to compete in several events.
“We have more competition next year. We have one either in Hong Kong or Australia, while we have recently been invited to Palau and we might go there to compete or train. We also have to two big competitions in the summer—the Pacific Games in Samoa and the 2019 World Championships (long course) in South Korea,” the Grace Christian Academy student said.
“But all these competitions only rely on the amount of resources we have and because they are minimal now, we are not sure which events we will be able to attend,” he added.
The Department of Public Lands is now in charge of the Marpi pool and other facilities that were used to be under Kan Pacific. DPL is expected to solicit a new request for proposal from companies interested in the property.
Meanwhile, besides earning a PB in the 100m freestyle, Suzuki was thankful for experiencing how to race in the world stage.
“It was pretty amazing. I realized I have a lot to learn and now have a better perspective on how the real professionals prepare and race. I was able to meet new people and connect mostly with other swimmers from Oceania. Our team did a pretty good job considering we did not have a pool to train in for a while,” he said.