Jinju Thompson contributed half to the total individual medals Saipan Swim Club won in the Inaugural Micronesian Swimming Championships held at the National Swimming Pool in Palau last week.
The 16-year-old earned one gold medal, five silvers, and two bronzes for SSC, which got five more silvers and four bronzes in the competition held from April 4 to 6. Thompson’s lone gold medal came in the women’s 13 and over 200m freestyle race during the second day of the event. She clocked in at 2:26.28 in the finals, eclipsing her preliminary mark (2:27.43) and beating Palau’s Osisang Chilton (2:28.86), Pohnpei’s Jourdyn (2:29.35) and Nicole (2:35:24) Adams, the Marshall Islands’ Alyssa England (2:37.28), and her sister, Jinie (2:39:49).
Also on Day 2 of the tournament, Jinju got two silver medals (400m freestyle and 200m backstroke), while siblings Lennosuke and Jinnosuke Suzuki won one silver each, and Savita Sikkel, David Boyer, and Sophia Gauran notched medals in relays.
Jinju finished second to the Olympian Chilton in the 400m freestyle, as the latter submitted 5:04.59 against the former’s 5:05.59. Jinie handed SSC a bronze medal in the same event after checking in at 5:34.17 Jinju raced against Chilton anew in the 200m backstroke and this time defeated the Palau bet with her 2:47.91 against the host’s 2:50:06 for the bronze medal.
In the men’s 13 and over 400m freestyle, Jinnosuke clinched second place after posting 4:27.55, while Palau’s Noel Keane (4:25:14) finished first and his compatriot Jericho Maido (4:40.88) came in far third. Jinnosuke’s brother, Lennosuke, also secured a silver medal when he was ranked second in the 200m freestyle behind Noel. Lennosuke recorded 2:03:52, while Noel logged 2:01.60, and Jinnosuke posted 2:08.96 for the bronze medal.
In the relay, Sikkel was with Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan’s Ashley Dangol, Isaiah Aleksenko, and Hans Xu and they won in the mixed U12 400m medley relay. Boyer and Gauran also joined forces with Tsunami Saipan’s Juhn Tenorio and Asaka Litulumar for a silver-medal finish in the mixed 13 and over 400m medley relay.
Earlier on Day 1 of the event, Jinju gave SSC its first individual medal after a runner-up finish in the 800m freestyle. She clocked in at 10:59.39 in the finals, surpassing her preliminary mark (11:09.03). The older Thompson also notched a bronze in the 50m backstrokes (35:45 seconds)
Besides Jinju’s silver and bronze, SSC swimmers also bagged two golds (relay with Tsunami Saipan), three more bronzes, and another silver in the opening day. Jinnosuke and Gauran teamed up with Tenorio and Aika Watanabe and they ruled the over 13 200m medley relay. In the same event, Sikkel raced with Xu, Aleksenko, and Dangol and the quartet took the gold in the U12 age group.
In the 400m freestyle relay, Jinnosuke, Jinie, Boyer, and Tsunami Saipan’s Asaka Litulumar got the bronze behind Pohnpei and Palau teams. Boyer also won the bronze in the 200m butterfly, while Jinnosuke matched the former’s third place finish in the 100m breaststroke. Lennosuke missed the podium in the 100m breaststroke, but redeemed himself in the 100m freestyle after getting the silver medal in the event.
For the final day of the competition at the pool, SSC swimmers hauled five individual medals and one in relay.
Jinju contributed two with her runner-up finishes in the 1,500m freestyle (21:14.08) and 100m backstroke (1:16.15) and was part of the gold-medal winning team in the 200m freestyle relay, as he raced with Lennosuke, Aika Watanabe, and Tenorio in beating Pohnpei, Palau, and the Marshall Islands squads.
Lennosuke also had a pair of medals on Day 3 after placing third in the 200m breaststroke (2:43.15) and second in the 50m freestyle (25.53 seconds), while Sikkel won a silver in the 200m individual medley after posting 3:22:87—a big drop from her preliminary time of 3:43.30.
Meanwhile, the Inaugural Micronesian Swimming Championships wrapped up with an open water swim last Saturday with two SSC swimmers making it to the podium.
Jinju placed third in the women’s over 13 5K race after registering 1:25:47, while Jinnosuke was the runner-up in the men’s field after logging 1:12:30.