Accomplishments and controversy for FSM Swimmers in Hangzhou, China

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

December 19, 2018

FSM—FSM Swimmers made history and set new FSM records during the FINA Short Course World Championships set this year in Hangzhou, China that took place December 11-16.  It was a historic first in that it was the first time in FSM history for swimmers from each of the four FSM states to participate in a world swimming championship.

FINA is the governing organization that oversees all international swimming.  The Short Course World Championship takes place in a 25 meter swimming pool and happens every two years in the even numbered years.  On odd numbered years a Long Course World Championship takes place in a 50 meter pool.

To qualify for the FINA Short Course Championships the FSM swimmers had to compete in the Oceania Swimming Championships in Papua New Guinea last summer, which they all did in their individual events and also in Mixed Relay events.

The four FSM swimmers, each of whom set new FSM swimming records were 16-year-old Taeyanna Adams who is Pohpeian and Chuukese; 19-year-old Kaleo Kihleng who is Pohpeian and Kosraean; 24-year-old Tasi Limtiaco who is Chuukese and Yapese; and 16-year-old Margie Winter who is Chuukese.  Each of the athletes not only dropped their finish times from their qualifying times at the Oceania Swimming Championships but each also set at least one FSM record for the individual events in which they each competed.  Of the eight swims in China, six are new FSM National records.

Each of the swimmers was already an FSM national record holder in various events.

Taeyanna Adams competed in the 50 meter Breaststroke and scored a new FSM record at 37.00 seconds.  She also competed in the 100 meter Freestyle and scored a time of 1:08.41.

Kaleo Kihleng competed in the 50 meter Freestyle and set a new FSM record of 25.47 seconds. He also competed in the 100 meter Freestyle and maintained his current FSM record of 55.83 seconds.

Tasi Limtiaco swam FSM records in each of the events he swam.  In the 200 meter Individual Medley his time was 2:08.69.  In the 50 meter Breaststroke his time was 28.89.

Margie Winter also set two FSM swim records.  In the 50 meter Butterfly, her time was 31.57.  In the 50 meter Freestyle, her time was 28.86.

At the Oceania Swimming Championship in PNG the FSM Swimming team was the first FSM team to become eligible to compete in a relay event at a world championship.  The FSM relay team had the fastest qualifying time of any of the relay teams in the Micronesian region and scored high among all of the participants from Oceania.  As a result, they were eligible to compete in two relays in China - the Mixed 4x50 Freestyle relay and the Mixed 4x50 Medley relay.

According to documents, the FSM swim coach had submitted the qualifying swim times for each of the events to Sweeter Daniel, President of the FSM Swimming well before the deadline to enter the events in China.  Their qualifying time in PNG for the 4 x 50 meter Mixed Freestyle relay had been 1:52.97 on June 26, 2018.

But when the team arrived in Hangzhou, the athletes and their coaches discovered that the FSM Swimming Association had submitted entries only for the individual events and not for the Mixed Relays for which the team had qualified and trained.  Had they been entered, it would have been a second “first” for FSM swimmers in FSM history at the Hangzhou swimming competition—the first time an FSM team had competed in a Mixed Relay in an international competition.

The Oceania Athlete Advocate stepped in to attempt to help the team get registered for the events they had planned to swim but was unsuccessful.  The team was unable to participate.

Just the same, the athletes prevailed in their individual events despite the disappointment in the backdrop of their performances.

Early this week we contacted Sweeter Daniel and asked her if there was a reason that she had not registered the FSM swimmers to swim in the relay events.  “Who told you to ask me that question,” she asked.  When we replied that some of the athlete’s parents had asked us to find out if there was a reasonable explanation, she replied, “Sorry, never mind,” and hung up the phone.

Some of the athletes and coaches arrived home this afternoon. 

One athlete’s parent said that it was unfortunate that FSM sports dirty laundry had to be aired in front of the international swimming community.  The parent said that the relay could have been one of two firsts for the FSM and the athletes were disappointed but they performed really well any way and that the FSM could be proud of them.