Saturday, August 08, 2015

There were five swimmers from Oceania’s Pacific islands competing on day five of these championships. Four appearing in a competitive Women’s 100m Freestyle, whilst Pilar Shimizu lined up in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke. Once again, personal best times were lowered in the Kazan Arena.


Tonga’s Charissa Panuve was making her second appearance at these championships after a very successful first swim, where she broke the national record in the 100m Butterfly.


In the 200m Breaststroke the 20 year old was quick off the blocks and completed the first 50m in 31.07 seconds. 34.58 seconds on her return gave her a finishing time of 1 minute 05.65 seconds. Another personal best and nearly 3 seconds quicker than the time she clocked in Port Moresby at the Pacific Games.


Needless to say, it was a tired but pleased Charissa who faced the press afterwards,

“ I feel very good, I got exactly what I aimed for in 1.05.6, so it went well. My turn off the wall was a bit messy but it turned out really good.”


Previously, Charissa has commented on how the 100m Freestyle is a challenge for her,

“ Yes, it’s a challenge and I like that. It tests my limits so it’s good for me."


We also asked for her reflections on these World Championships and how they compare for her personally,

“ This week has been so much better, my swims are so much better, I have become more mature so I know how to look at races and how to analyse them to see the little parts where I have gone wrong and where I can improve”


Colleen Furgeson from the Marshall Islands lined up in the very next lane to Panuve. It was her final race in Kazan.


Her start produced a reaction time perfectly matched with that of her 50m Backstroke earlier in the week, at 0.77 seconds, which ended in a personal best.


Her first 50m produced a time of 30.60 seconds, but the effect of racing a day before, caught up. “I was already tired after the 50m”, she explained.


Nevertheless, the remainder of the race saw her set a time of 1 minute 05.18 seconds and so beating her personal best, 1.01 seconds quicker than her Pacific Games time.

“It was good, but I think I could’ve done a little better though”, the 16 year old swimmer reflected.


“When I went in I think I came up a little too early and I think my foot turn could’ve been a little bit tighter...then I definitely could’ve been quicker when I saw the 25m”.


Furgeson’s final reflection on the Championships was nothing but positive.

“I really like Russia itself. I like being close to my teammates because they don’t train with me so it’s cool being with them”.


The second and final race for Fiji’s Matelita Buadromo was also in the Women’s 100m Freestyle. Her previous race in this event was at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, several weeks before, in which she achieved a time of 58.29 seconds and a silver medal.


Buadromo aimed to boast a similar, if not quicker time in this event. By the halfway stage she was 4th in the Heat by a small margin, posting 28.38 seconds. Her second 50m, on the other hand, improved her standing as she raced to a final 50m time of 30.15 seconds the second fastest in her heat for the final 50m. This resulted in Matelita winning the Heat in 58.53 seconds. The Dolphin Swim Club member was satisfied with the swim;

“It was a better effort in the 100m compared to the 200m and I’ve worked on things that I missed in the 200m. An example would be the turns so I worked more on those.. I feel it was a good race and touching first is always nice to see.

The limited time period between the two competitions added to the impressive nature of getting a time so close to her personal best.


“I felt it was a really good race considering it was only two and a half weeks since the Pacific Games. We had a few days of recovery, because I did seventeen races in the Pacific Games, and then a week of hard training”.


There is a clear focus now for the Fijian, with her sights firmly set on the 2016 Olympics.

“From here it’s back home and training with my coach. We made a plan to do the best to qualify for Rio so we’re looking at the Oceania Championships”.


It was the first appearance in the pool this week for Tracy Keith- Matchitt of the Cook Islands.


She competed in Heat 5 of the 100m Freestyle with limited expectations after the lead up to Kazan.

“I had a few issues building into the World’s with sickness and injury and having to schedule back”


As a result, the Sport and Exercise Science graduate was pleased with her final time of 57.85 seconds.

“It’s pretty good for this year, I was quite happy with the result as I didn’t expect it to go that well.”


Tracy completed the first 50m in 28.11 seconds turning in 7th place. However, she produced the second fastest final 50m of the heat (29.74 seconds) to secure 4th place which left her just outside the top fifty in the world at 51st.


Pilar Shimizu of Guam was the last of the Pacific Oceania swimmers to compete in the pool on Day 5 in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke. It was a race that she found challenging,

“That hurt a lot. Rather than physically tired, I was more mentally tired. I’ve been travelling with the team since the beginning of July and it’s a long time to be on the road so I’m getting ready for home.”


Pilar completed her World Championships in 2 minutes 56.47 seconds and with the time being 6 seconds slower than her recent Pacific Games time it reinforced her explanation.

Next stop for the 19 year old is “John Hopkins University (in Baltimore, Maryland) to swim for my college team.”


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.