Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan is hoping to take part in its first off-island competition since the 2019 Micronesian Championships in Palau when they leave for a meet in Taipei this summer.
Coach Hiro Kimura plans to bring a 10-person team to Taiwan—five boys and five girls. Ten swimmers is the ideal number for the meet as Tsunami Saipan wants to join the relay event where at least four swimmers are needed with one alternate.
“Our target is to go to a Taipei swim competition this summer. As you know very well, Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world now. I already have contacted a coach in Taipei. If our swimmers get vaccinated, they can accept our swimmers to participate in their meet,” he said.
So far, there are already five boys swimmers on the shortlist to Taipei, namely Juhn Tenorio, Jinnosuke Suzuki, Isaiah Aleksenko, Kean Pajarillaga, and Kouki Watanabe. The girls side is also made up of five candidates, among them Asaka Litulumar, Aoi Braxton, Shoko Litulumar, Maria Batallones, and Julia Jinang.
“These swimmers are just candidates. If the meet in Taipei will be an age group meet, younger swimmers will be asked to go, too. I will never select low practice attendance swimmers or no hard workers in their regular practice,” said Kimura.
Tsunami Saipan has seven group levels with the top group training six times a week and the beginners’ group twice a week at a private swimming pool.
Aside from the envisioned meet in Taiwan’s capital, the Tsunami Saipan coach also wants his swimmers to take part in competitions around Micronesia.
“The Taipei meet is the first choice for us. After Taipei, we may go to Guam, Palau, or Pohnpei to participate in swim meets… Guam is getting better. They have carried out vaccinations to 65% of the population already. Maybe, in the summer we will join a meet in Guam. Palau is a COVID-19-free country. If they reopen tourism, they will surely hold a swim competition.”
When it comes to vaccinations, Kimura said Tsunami Swimmers who are eligible for the vaccine have gotten their shots. “Our swimmers are getting their COVID-19 vaccine shot a little by a little. Already three of our senior swimmers have been vaccinated.”