‘Tomo’ following in dad and uncle’s footsteps

Posted on Jul 23 2021

Tomomitsu Aldan poses with uncle Dean Palacios after the Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series held last July 10 in the waters off Civic Center Beach. (Mark Rabago)

Tomomitsu Aldan is more than 5,000 miles from home yet there was something familiar for the 8th grader when he competed in the Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series held last July 10 in the waters off Civic Center Beach.

For Tomo, as he is called by family, is the son of former CNMI national swimmer David Palacios, which also makes him the nephew of Dean Palacios, another bemedaled CNMI swimmer. Both brothers swam for CNMI Sports Hall of Famers and Saipan Swim Club co-founders Bill and Jean Sakovich.

Aldan, who lives in Chico, California, said the open water swim was a great experience and something he won’t easily forget.

“It was rough I didn’t pace myself that well. [But] I had a lot of fun and that’s all that matters,” he said.

When asked if like his father and uncle he’d be interested in being part of the CNMI national swimming team in the future, Aldan’s ready answer was, “I hope so and that sounds like a good goal and I’ll try.”

After spending the summer on Saipan, Aldan is set to leave the island in August.

Dean Palacios, who watched his nephew compete two Saturdays ago, said he’s proud of Aldan swimming in the open water competition, where he finished second to Justin Ma in the 500m race with a time of 8:11.5. He also gave his thoughts on his nephew donning the national colors someday.

“Tomo is gonna be here only a few months so he’s not gonna be able to be part of the national team but if he comes back maybe he can.”

The current staff of the CNMI Law Revision Commission also said it was also cool seeing a lot of youth swimmers taking part in the open water swim.

“I haven’t taken much track of our swimmers lately but I’m happy they get to go to the FINA World Championships,” he said.

Palacios admitted that watching the Triple Crown Open Water Swim Series, which is a qualifier for the FINA World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this coming December, also made him reminisce a bit about his swimming past.

“It’s different though. We did ocean swims but I’m more used to the swimming pool where it’s high energy and where everybody’s cheering. Here it’s more spread out but it was still nice.”

Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan coach Hiro Kimura said it’s a thrill seeing the progeny of one of the CNMI’s top swimmers taking up the baton.

“Tomo is son of David Palacios who is the one of the legendary swimmers of the CNMI. My sons, both are national swimmers here, worked hard and grew up looking up to David and younger brother Dean. Me and my wife thanked them very much because our kids were always inspired by David and Dean.”

Kimura said he can’t believe that after all these years, he is now coaching the son of the “legendary” David Palacios.

“Time goes by, I’m coaching the son now. I’ve never been so honored! With the Tsunami Saipan spirit, I give Tomo as much coaching as I can now.”

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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