The water at the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool has started to get murky and it could get worse, as reopening of the facility may not happen anytime soon.
It’s been nearly two weeks since the 50-meter pool closed and it could remain that way, as a company that may take over the operation and maintenance of the facility has to go through the regular process to legalize its claim on the property. Saipan Tribune learned that a company, not Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, which was earlier allowed to manage Mariana Resort and other facilities under Kan Pacific, has expressed interest with the lone Olympic-size pool in the CNMI. However, that company needs to turn in a request for proposal and submission and approval would take time—which the pool does not have, as it will deteriorate further without proper maintenance.
Saipan Tribune checked the facility yesterday afternoon and though water is still running in the eight-lane pool, it has turned dark, not the usual bluish color when proper treatment is done.
Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Association president John Hirsh, meanwhile, confirmed that they haven’t heard anything from the government as to the status of the pool after turning over a copy of signatures of the online campaign to keep the facility open.
Swimmers Juhn Tenorio, Nelson Batallones, David Boyer Lennosuke Suzuki, and Jinju Thompson, Hirsh, and Dolphin Club Saipan’s Pete Perez turned in the signed petition to John Oliver Gonzalez, the chief of staff of Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog, last week. The young swimmers reiterated the urgent need to reopen the pool.
“For swimmers to recover from one week of no practice is about three weeks to one month and our season has already begun last month and we have big competitions coming up this year. While our rival islands are practicing, we are not. We will not be prepared for all of these big meets,” said Tenorio, who is forced to train in open water along with other Tsunami Swimming Center Saipan members.
Thompson and the rest of Saipan Swim Club swimmers are also practicing in the ocean and hopes to get the pool reopened soon, as they need to train for off-island tournaments.
“For us swimmers coming from the small island of Saipan, we are ambassadors. Training for these prestigious competitions is something our team does not take lightly. Recently, our programs were thrown an obstacle, resolving in our local swim teams not being able to swim at our pool. There may be other places we can practice in, but no matter how we try to look on the bright side or not, we do acknowledge the fact that there is no place like our 50-meter pool. Although this limitation is something our swimmers face, we are still trying our hardest in swim practice in the ocean. We are aware that swimming in the ocean is very different from swimming in the pool, but we all aim for the goal of being able to represent our island, something which is considered a high honor. We will continue putting in our very best effort in practice, and hope that we get our facility reinstated,” Thompson said.
Lennosuke echoed Thompson’s sentiments and although they remained resilient practicing in the ocean, they definitely need help to have the pool back.
“It is sad that the pool has closed, but it won’t stop us swimmers from pursuing our dreams even though we have a bit of a disadvantage. I believe that the people of the CNMI will help us build up the sport because it has helped me become who I am and I believe swimming could do so much more for this island. The team is building up in creating better athletes, but we need help—we need a pool,” he said.