Suzuki, Litulumar top Meek & Mighty

Posted on Feb 17 2020

The weather finally cooperated in last Saturday’s 2020 Meek & Mighty Ocean Swim held in the waters off Kanoa Resort in Susupe and that bode well for Jinnosuke Suzuki, Shoko Litulumar, and other winners of the open water swim.

Suzuki and Litulumar, both of Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan, won the men’s and women’s divisions of the 5K race with times of 51:23.06 and 1:00.27.26, respectively.

“It was harder than I thought. The waves were kind of strong. It was a surprise winning the race as the hardest part was swimming against the current,” Suzuki, a 14-year-old Marianas High School student, said during a short interview after the event.

Another Tsunami Saipan swimmer, Isaiah Aleksenko, finished second to Suzuki with his 53:29.76, followed by Nelson Jay A. Batallones with his 59:11.96.

Like Suzuki, Litulumar wasn’t expecting to win the longest race of the Meek & Mighty Ocean Swim.

“I was expecting second but not first. The hardest part was going against the waves while swimming on to the second buoy. I was concerned about my sister because I was trying to beat her,” she said alluding to Asaka, who came in second in the division with a time of 1:00.29.18. Jinie Thompson of Saipan Swim Club finished third with her time of 1:01.56.52.

“I was concerned about Asaka and also about Jinie because I wanted to beat them so I can get at least a place,” said the 13-year-old Litulumar, who goes to Hopwood Middle School.

Big things coming in small packages was the theme in the intermediate 3K swim, as Kouki Watanabe and Maria Corazon Batallones reigned supreme with times of 33:07.09 and 37:14.59, respectively.

MHS teacher and former SSC coach Jacoby Winkfield came in second in the men’s division with a time of 40:46.41, while Andrew Nunez came in the third with his 43:07.12.

In the women’s, Saipan Community School teacher and SSC assistant coach Sarah Vander Wal came in second with her time of 42:42.21 with Savita Sikkel finishing third with a 42:51.13.

In Meek division, Justin Ma topped the 1K race for men with his time of 14:59.36 followed by Arman Rechucher (15:54.31) and Tristan Raho (15:59.64).

In the women’s race, Sari Barman was the first out of the water with his 15:05.29. Nagisa Litulumar (15:91.21) and Jessica Ma (15:54.07) followed.

In the short 50m race from the beach to the first buoy, Kanoa Owens (1:10.31) topped the boys with Mechael Rechucher (1:25.43) and Teagan Wright (1:23.00) next. In the girls, Maria Guerrero (1:11.17), Shana Barman (1:12.05), and Stella Choi (1:16.13) finished 1-2-3.

Introduced by former SSC coach Michael Stewart about 14 years ago, the Meek & Mighty Ocean Swim refers to the 5K swim as the “Might” and the 1K swim as the “Meek.”

Rough waters preceded days before the race that made SSC coach Richard Sikkel check out the event site a couple times for safety reasons.

For more information on the Meek & Mighty Ocean Swim or the SSC, email or message them on their Facebook page.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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