Villacrusis sets PBT in Hungary


The CNMI’s Christian Villacrusis, seen here racing in a local meet early this year, joined the 100m breaststroke event in the 17th FINA World Championships last Sunday in Budapest, Hungary. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Christian Villacrusis earned a new personal best time in the 100m breaststroke event after debuting in the 17th FINA World Championships last Sunday in Budapest, Hungary.

Villacrusis raced on Lane 3, Heat 1 of the preliminaries and completed the two-lap swim in 1:16.70.

“It was great. I got 1.16.70 for the 100 breast, so I shaved about a second in my event. I was surprised to see a lot of people watching because it was still the first day and it was only prelims. Swimming here is really fun because you can draw energy from the crowd and swim with so much adrenaline,” the 17-year-old swimmer said in a message sent to Saipan Tribune last Monday morning.

The Saipan Swim Club member’s seedtime registered on the start list of the event was 1:18.57, which he then eclipsed when he joined the 69th Annual Keo Nakama Invitational in Hawaii early this month after submitting 1:18.48. Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation turned in the seedtime to organizers before the competition in Hawaii, while Villacrusis’ PBT in the World Championships has to be made officially by SSC. Only CNMI national records are certified by NMISF. Rezne Wong still owns the Commonwealth mark in the 100m breaststroke (1:07.29/May 30, 2012).

In the World Championships, record-holder Adam Peaty of Great Britain lived up to expectations after posting the best time in the qualifiers. He timed in at 58.21 seconds to lead 15 others to the semifinals. The British swimmer then set a new championship record after logging 57.75 seconds in the semis and surpassing his own mark of 58.18 seconds (registered in 2015 during the World Championships in Kazan). Peaty and seven others qualified to the medal race, which was scheduled Monday evening (early Tuesday morning on Saipan) during Day 2 of the swimming competition.

In other results in the opening day of the swimming races, the CNMI’s Victoria Chentsova completed the 400m event in 4:47.15, faster than the 4:50.43 she registered in the XI Oceania Championships in Fiji last year and three seconds behind the Commonwealth record. Incidentally, the 19-year-od swimmer holds the CNMI national record in the 400m, posting 4:44.15 during the 2015 World Championships in Kazan.

Back in Hungary, Katie Ledecky of the U.S. logged a new world championships record after clocking in at 3:59.06 in the qualifying Heat 4 last Sunday. The American shattered the world championships mark (3:59.13) which she made in Kazan. Ledecky went on to reset the championships record and win the gold medal in the 400m freestyle event after checking in at 3:58.34 in the finals.

Meanwhile, Jinju Thompson will be on Heat 1, Lane 3 when she debuts in the World Championships. She will race in the 200m freestyle against Tanzania’s Sonia Tomiotto, Albania’s Diana Basho, and Dominican Republic’s Arianna Sanna.

The 200m freestyle swim has six qualifying heats and 54 participants, including world and championships record-holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy and Ledecky. The Italian is on Heat 5, while the American is entered on Heat 6. The qualifying heats are scheduled to start at 9:49am Tuesday (around 6pm Saipan time).

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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