As expected, CNMI swimmer Christian Villacrusis is still learning the ropes in his rookie season with the George Fox University in the National Collegiate Athletics Association.
“Swimming for a college team is a good experience. It is very tough to manage time when you have to worry about balancing academics on top of your many swim practices,” the former Saipan Swim Club member.
Villacrusis debuted for the Bruins, who compete in the Division III’s Northwest Conference, last October against the Southwestern Oregon Community College. He is one of the three freshmen on George Fox’s roster and does freestyle and breaststroke swims for the Bruins.
“My first meet was great. We went up against Southwestern Oregon Community College and my first event was the 100 free. It was my first time racing in a 25-yard pool and I still need to get used to all these flip turns. Overall, I felt good about my performance and it was great to represent my school and of course, our island,” the Mt. Carmel School graduate said.
Villacrusis timed in at 52.47 seconds in the 100m freestyle, placing second behind teammate Dean Caleb (51.70 seconds) and beating fellow Bruins’ Zach Johnson and four Southwestern Oregon swimmers. The former CNMI national team member also raced in the 100m breaststroke and was ranked third after clocking in at 1:08.01. Then last month, Villacrusis also swam against Witworth and Withman in Washington, Lewis & Clark in Portland, and Pacific Lutheren, while George Fox had the Bruin Invite over the weekend. In January, the Bruins are scheduled to compete against Villamette, College of Idaho, Puget Sound, Linfield, and Pacific (Ore).
“Swimming in the college level is very competitive. I am not getting the times I want right now, but we are working very hard and I am excited for our conference meet this February,” the 19-year-old said.
Villacrusis is talking of the NWC Championships that will be held from Feb. 7 to 10 in Federal Way, Washington.
“My goal for this year is to make the finals in our conference meet this February. It is going to be a lot of work, but I want to place in an event by the time I graduate,” said Villacrusis, who left words of encouragement to CNMI swimmers who continue to train despite the closure of the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool.
“To our swimmers back home, you guys are doing a great job. I know swimming in the ocean isn’t fun, but you guys need to hang in there. Keep working hard, don’t give up, and let me know when you guys play fortnite,” the George Fox rookie said.