Youngsters shine in time trials

Posted on Feb 10 2020

A total of 35 Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan swimmers took part in the time trials last month held at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan lap pool. (Contributed Photo)

The next generation of swimmers under Swimming Center Tsunami Saipan shone the brightest during the club’s time trials held last Jan. 22 at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan’s lap pool.

Tsunami Saipan head coach Hiro Kimura said the improvements showed by 7-year-old Shana Barman and 6-year-old Stella Choi in the time trials were “wonderful.”

“Shana’s 50 Free was 47.23. It is already reached B grade time. Shana is still 7 years old. When she will turn 8 years old, I think she will be able to reach more than A grade level.”

He was equally effused with Choi’s results in the time trials last month.

“Stella’s 25 Fly was 26.25. It is equivalent to B time when converted to 50 yards. Stella is still 6 years old. She is the star of expectation of Saipan swimming,” he said.

The Tsunami Saipan coach also heaped praises on Kaya Braxton and said the 9-year-old is definitely “ready for launch!”

“Kaya marked B grade time for all events! Though Kaya almost is selected as Tsunami Saipan representative, she could not show me any good grade time until now. But Kaya showed everyone splendidly when she almost reach the level of team representative,” he said.

Veteran swimmers 17-year-old Kevin Guererro, 15-year-old Juhn Tenorio, 14-year-old Jinnosuke Suzuki, and 13-year-old Isaiah Aleksenko were also cited by Kimura for setting good examples for the younger and less experienced members of Tsunami Saipan.

“Kevin, Juhn Tenorio, Jinnosuke, and Isaiah are swimmers who have the most attendance in practice and, in fact, also never skipped morning practice. These four swimmers also have the most stable and good results every time trial,” he said.

Kimura also shared that the rationale for the time trials is to determine which swimmers are ready for off-island swimming competitions.

“For Tsunami Saipan swimmers, off-island meet is not a meet where a swimmer can go if a swimmer wants to go. Off-island meet is different from local meet. It is a meet where only those who have worked hard every practice and achieve good results can go.”

At every time trial, Kimura said each swimmers’ goal is to get the qualifying time. “If a swimmer has already marked the qualifying time, he or she can aim at updating lifetime best times with their best of the best. That is why Tsunami swimmers keep practicing harder every day.”

The cut-throat nature of the time trials was evident when swimmers that didn’t meet the qualifying times were so disappointed that they openly cried after the time trials.

“There were countless swimmers who did not reach the qualifying time and wept at the time trials. It is the qualifying time that only a swimmer who made an effort can reach and the off-island meet that only a swimmer who has reached the qualifying time can go.”

A total of 35 Tsunami Saipan swimmers took part in the time trials last month. While Tsunami Saipan swimmers and Kimura were all too appreciative of PIC Saipan for letting them use their facilities, they still long and pine for the reopening of the Marpi swimming pool.

“I hope that we can at least use the pool as a competition venue for us to have future swim meets and represent our islands,” said veteran swimmer Nelson Batallones.

“I hope the Marpi pool will open again because this pool is sort of like our second home. It is where our generation and the past generations have starting swimming, practiced, improved, and beaten high records. The Marpi pool is Tsunami Saipan’s place of origin,” seconded up-and-coming swimmer Julia Jinang.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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