Thompson settles into home away from home


The CNMI’s Jinju Thompson swims in the 200m freestyle qualifying race in the 18th FINA World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea last Tuesday. (The Reporters Academy)

The 18th FINA World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea is dear to the CNMI’s Jinju Thompson.

“This meet is extra special for me, my mom is from Korea so I felt really nervous but it was a good kind of nervous. I feel a lot of support and it’s extra special,” Thompson said.

Thompson wasn’t exaggerating the amount of support and attention she’s been receiving. The Korean national press has picked up on her and she was a popular interviewee after her race. Thompson swam in the 200m freestyle last Tuesday and clocked in at 2:32. 35 seconds. She explained she would like to improve and saw the value of positive next steps in training that could be taken.

“I could have done better, I tried my hardest, of course. The results were around the times I thought I would get, aiming for 2:29 ish, I guess it’s all about training now.”

As the reflection continued, so did the list of positives that could be taken away from the morning heat

“I can take a lot away from that swim, things that I can work on. The little things that will help me achieve my personal best, I saw in this race. I need to work on my walls, so I think the goal for the 100m free, there is only one turn so, just killing that wall!” the CNMI swimmer said

What she humbly didn’t mention is that this islander is just 16 years old. Therefore, it’s a great performance on the world stage. The sky’s the limit in terms of progressing this young career.

Thankful for the opportunity
Meanwhile, age also proved no barrier for 15-year-old Juhn Tenorio, as he set a strong 1:04.91 seconds in the men’s 100m backstroke event last Sunday.

As the youngest swimmer entered into the event, he was by no means out of his depth. The youngster, bristling with potential, will no doubt build upon this experience as he grows and develops in the sport. As to how he will improve and bring down that time,Tenorio highlighted some areas he needed to improve on himself.

“I died pretty hard coming back, I think I’ve got to train more in my legs and in my arms,” he said.

Reflecting on participating in his first World Championships, he summed up his emotions this way.

“It feels unthinkable, I never thought I would represent my small island on this big of a stage so I’m very thankful about that,” Tenorio said.

Interestingly, a recurring theme developed as he went on to discuss the differences between the tournament in Gwangju and the CNMI.

“(It’s) very different back home. Back home we don’t have a pool so it’s been quite a while since I’ve swam long course. It’s a good opportunity (so I’m) thankful that I’m here.”

The CNMI’s Juhn Tenorio races in the 100m backstroke qualifying event in the 18th FINA World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea last weekend. (The Reporters Academy)

Simon Smith (The Reporters Academy)
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.