Thursday, August 06, 2015

Day three was a relatively quiet day in the pool for the Pacific island swimmers, with just three swimmers competing. Nonetheless, it was no less challenging.

Swimmers from Fiji, FSM and Northern Marianas were the latest to take the plunge and once again those supporting the region’s swimmers were not disappointed as another personal best was achieved within five minutes of the morning’s heats commencing.

Two of those three swimmers appeared in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke. First up was Kaito Yanai representing Northern Marianas in Heat 3.

The teenager swims out of the Tsunami Swimming Center in Saipan and comes from a swimming family that includes his younger brother Ryuto.

His family will certainly be proud of him as he came home in 31.46 seconds, his second personal best of the championships following his performance in the 100m Breaststroke. He stopped to analyse his race afterwards;

“ That was tough. The plan was to go from easy to fast but then I went a bit too fast for the first part and I wasn’t thinking.”

His assessment of his fast start was accurate and also provides another interesting addition to this young swimmer’s story. His reaction time off the blocks was 0.62 seconds exactly the same as in his 100m Breaststroke on day one. On that occasion, only the World Record Holder got away quicker. This time Kaito went one better and his reaction time was quicker than World Record Holder Cameron Van Der Burgh of South Africa. This, in a Preliminary where Van Der Burgh broke his own World Record!

All this, and it’s only Kaito’s first World Championships.

Fiji’s first entrant into the 16th FINA World Championships, was 19-year-old Matelita Buadromo. Competing in the Women’s 200m Freestyle, Buadromo started in heat two as she looked to break one of her several, impressive national and personal records. Currently, her personal best and national record in this event was set a year ago, in Glasgow, at the Commonwealth Games. She achieved an impressive time of 2 minutes 07.77 seconds. However, with only four weeks between competing in the Pacific Games and the World Championships, the challenge of recovery was present.

Buadromo, who was the 2014 Fijian athlete ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games, found herself in second place after the first turn in 29.70 seconds. She reinforced her position with good second and third split times alternating between 1st and 2nd place. Sadly, the final 50m took its toll with Matelita completing the final 50m in 34.59 seconds. This was the 8th fastest and crucially affected her final time of 2 minutes 09.07 seconds.

The Fijian won no fewer than six silver medals and claimed 2 national records at the Pacific Games. However she felt that tiredness caught her up a little, as she later admitted;

“The first 100m felt great and the third length was when I started feeling fatigue but I pushed through”.

Her finishing time was 1.3 seconds shy of her personal best.

“It was alright... it wasn’t really what I aimed for but it was ok for me considering I’ve just come back from the Pacific Games. I was just a second off my time from the Pacifics”.

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) had their second swimmer in action.  This time it was the turn of Dionisio Augustine in the 50m Breaststroke.
Dionisio took to the blocks in heat 4. This was not the first time that the swimmer had performed in Kazan. He had been a competitor in three events at the 2013 Summer Universiade in the nearby Aquatics Palace. On that occasion he recorded a time of 34.67 seconds in the 50m Breaststroke when finishing 5th in his heat.

Recently he bettered this time at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby by touching the wall at 33.50 seconds. However, his appearance in the Kazan Arena was to prove more challenging for the multi national record holder.

Dionisio completed the one-length event in 33.91 seconds and was clearly disappointed as he left the pool;

“ It was terrible, my start let me down and it just didn’t feel as good as my last visit here”

Despite his tough start to the championships he has another chance to remedy the situation on day six in the 50m Freestyle.

This article was produced by Mike Marron of The Reporters' Academy, a media production company run by young people, tasked with the mission of telling the stories of Oceania's swimmers at the World Championships in Kazan. The Reporters' Academy is integrated into the world of media, education and employment, dedicated to changing the lives of young people across Oceania and the UK.