Saturday, March 14, 2009

Heroes of the Sport

Bill (see photo) and Jean Sakovich are examples of the open water swimming heroes.

The husband-and-wife team started the Saipan Ocean Swim that will be held for the 31st time this Sunday. Swimmers 8-years-and-under swim in the 600-meter swim, 9-10 year olds swim 1K, 11-12 year olds swim 1.3K and everyone else does a 2.5K.

The race is in crystal clear, warm waters around two World War II tanks inside a lagoon in Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. Bill and Jean started the open water swim because, at that time, Saipan did not have a pool and they wanted to host a competition. So the Saipan Ocean Swim was born.

Bill tells us that swimming around tanks is a unique feature of the race - and the marks are permanent with the race held in front of the Saipan World Resort (see photo on left).

Swimmers come from Saipan, Guam, Japan, USA, Canada and Australia. The masters portion has taken off - like elsewhere around the world.

Bill also tells us of the following swims in his part of the world:

2.5-mile Cocos Crossing from Cocos Island to Merizo, Guam in May (see photo on left).

1.5K Rota Blue Open Water Swim that is held in conjunction with the Rota Blue Triathlon in the East Harbour on Rota (the Peaceful Island) in the Northern Mariana Islands

The Palau Open Ocean Swim held offshore of the Palau Beach Resort Hotel where the race courses range from 250 meters to 5K.

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