Tenorio sets PB in World Championships


The CNMI’s Juhn Tenorio swims in the 50m backstroke event in the 18th FINA World Swimming Championships last Friday at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, South Korea. (The Reporters Academy)

SOUTH KOREA—The CNMI’s Juhn Tenorio completed his first World Championships in style after posting a personal best in the 50m backstroke.

His 29.42 seconds in his final event in the 18th FINA World Swimming Championships last Friday at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center caught Juhn by surprise.

“That was the best time. It’s pretty good. It was amazing, with this pressure, I’m surprised I got a 29.42,” the 15-year-old said.

The impressive time was surely boosted by reacting quickest to the buzzer om his heat in a rapid 0.53 seconds, the joint 4th quickest reaction speed out of all the qualifiers. It is clear to see Tenorio has been soaking up the experience that has been afforded to him competing in this event. This includes access to world-class swimming facilities.

What has been the highlight of his week? Tenorio was unable to name just one.

“For sure, my teammates, my training, my coach. I’m very thankful for them. Hanging out with my teammates, having fun, doing a good race, and breaking personal records!”

With the competition now over, Tenorio turns his attention toward future international competitions and also hopes to see a dream of his come to fruition—a 50-meter competition pool for the CNMI after the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool’s closure.

Aika Watanabe shares Tenorio’s hopes.

“We only have a 20-meter pool (hotel),” said Watanabe, who also wrapped up her World Championships debut last weekend after competing in the 50m butterfly and timing in at 33.43 seconds.

“ I didn’t do good. My personal best is 31.9 seconds,” she said.

Her PB was set before Saipan was hit by Super Typhoon Yutu in October last year or a less than a month after the Kan Pacific pool ceased its operation. After the devastating storm, Watanabe and other CNMI swimmers were force to stop training for nearly two months before they persevered and trained in hotel pools in preparations for the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa and the World Championships here in Gwangju.

Simon Smith (The Reporters Academy)

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