No competition, no problem as Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan swimmers have continued to train and unofficially broke records while training at a private pool with the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool in Marpi still in mothballs.
Coach Hiro Kimura said the last official meet CNMI swimmers competed in was on Jan. 4, 2020 in Guam and with no Olympic-size swimming pool to test their mettle, Tsunami Saipan had to improvise and conduct time trials at the private pool they currently are training in.
“We can hold time trials there anytime we want, but it’s so hard for swimmers to understand how faster we are because the pool size is different from competition pools like the one Marpi or in Guam. Therefore, we calculated and converted every result time at the private pool for a 50m competition pool. As a result of the conversion, we marked a lot of fast times to unofficially break several CNMI records,” he said.
Kimura said their records show that five of his wards, namely Juhn Tenorio, Jinnosuke Suzuki, Isaiah Aleksenko, Kean Parajillaga, and Kouki Watanabe, have unofficially broken CNMI age group records. He, however, emphasized that these times won’t be entered in the record books and are unofficial as the pool is not standard.
Tenorio swam the 100m back in a conversion time of 1:00.87 to unofficially break his own national record of 1:04:40 set in July 2019.
Suzuki also unofficially broke Kai Staal’s 15-16 age group record in the 200 freestyle after a conversion time of 2:01.98. Staal swam the event in 2:02.98 in May 2009.
Aleksenko unofficially eclipsed Dean Palacios’ nearly 20-year record in the 100 fly butterfly when he registered a conversion time of 1:01.66. Palacios set the record in the boys 13-14 age group with a 1:03:71 in July 2001.
Parajillaga also made waves in the boys 13-14 200 backstroke with an unofficial conversion time of 2:21.43. His swim unofficially broke Kensuke Kimura’s 2:26:35 in October 2010.
Watanabe’s 200 breastroke conversion time of 2:50.39 in the boys 11-12 age group also unofficially beat Kaito Yanai’s 2:51:79 set in January 2012
Aside from the five, coach Kimura is also mighty proud of the rest of the swimmers of Tsunami Saipan.
He said 14-year-old Aoi Braxton’s 50 back and 100 back is getting closer to age group record time. “I think she will be able to break some records in the next time trial.”
The Tsunami Saipan coach also gave kudos to Nagisa Litulumar, Kaya Braxton, Sari Barman, and Maria Guererro. “I call 12 years old as the golden age of development. We expect a lot from these four and they have the potential to make up a strong CNMI junior girls relay team in the future.”
Kimura also said he expects girls’ captain Asaka Litulumar and her younger sister, Shoko, “young star” Maria Batallones, and hard-worker Julia Jinang to one day don the CNMI’s colors in the Micronesian Championships and even the Pacific Games.