Palau Swim Association (PSA), led by Head Coach Billy Brown, has just wrapped up a very historic week. The week kicked off on June 6th with the 10th annual Palau Ocean Swim 5k race. In addition to the 5k race there were also distance races of 3â€™000 meters, 1â€™500 meters, 500 meters and 250 meters. 100+ athletes attended the event which surpassed the previous high by over 20 athletes. Age group swim clubs from Palau, Hawaii, and Saipan were represented along with masters swim clubs from Japan. Winning honors in the 5k went to Kento Akimura of Saipan (1:01.11) on the menâ€™s side and Cameron Lyon(1:01.16) of Kailua, Hawaii on the womenâ€™s side. Palau Pacific Resort hosted the event and provided an excellent buffet breakfast afterwards as the awards for all races were presented.
On Sunday, June 7th, the fun continued as there were two fun swims in distances of 4k and 2k in Palauâ€™s UNESCO World Heritage list Rock Islands. Samâ€™s Tours and Day Dream, two of Palauâ€™s leading dive shops provided boats and crews who escorted all participating swimmers on a journey through the world-renown rock islands. After the morning 4k swim, the swimmers docked on a private beach courtesy of Koror State, and ate a huge Palauan feast (fresh fish, taro, tapioca and many other goodies) and enjoyed themselves. Following lunch the swimmers embarked on a 2k swim with the finish line being the world famous Soft coral Arch.
These two days of open water swimming, were the kick-off to PSAâ€™s first ever international training trip. Saipan Swim Club of Saipan, Aulea Swim Club of Hawaii, and Palau Swimming Association came together for a weekâ€™s session of training culminating in the first ever Palau Invitational at the end of the week.
In addition to daily training sessions from 6:00-8:30 AMand 4:30-7:00 PM, Samâ€™s Tours treated camp participants to a series of tours that included a visit to the Rock Islands, world-famous Jellyfish Lake, and an adventure kayaking trip in to the pristine waters of Nikko Bay. At the end of the week, Palau Swimming Association hosted the first annual Palau Invitational. First place team honors went to the host team from Palau, followed by Aulea Swim Club of Hawaii in 2nd place and Saipan Swim Club in 3rd place.
For both Palau Swimming Association and Saipan Swim Club this first ever meet marked their final preparation meet before their teams leave for Papua New Guinea in two weeks for the regional Pacific Games. Overall, the week was wonderful for training and sightseeing but most importantly a huge camaraderie was built amongst the swimmers from Palau Swimming Association, Saipan Swim Club, and Aulea Swim Club of Hawaii, helping to developing closer inter-club relations and broadening the development of swimming in the Oceania region.
Palau Swimming Association is led by Coach Billy Brown, a recent inductee in to the university of Massachusetts athletics hall of fame. Coach Brown has led team Palau at the Micronesian games, the Oceania games as well as short course world championships and 18-under world championships. He is currently preparing members of the team for the upcoming Pacific games and will lead 3 athletes at the world championships in Kazan this summer.
Saipan Swim Club is led by Coach Jacoby Winkfield. Coach Winkfield swam competitively as a youth for Saipan Swim Club and represented Saipan internationally as a swimmer. He returned to Saipan in 2013 to take over as head coach of the club. This summer, Coach Winkfield will be the head coach of Team Saipan at the Pacific Games in Papa New Guinea.
Aulea Swim Club of Hawaii is led by Coach Joe Glenn. Coach Glenn was named the 2011 Hawaii age group coach of the year. In his short tenure with the club he has helped reestablish a tradition of excellence. Since 2014, Aulea swimmers have broken 3 senior state records, 7 age group state records, won over 25 age group state titles, and were 2nd place in the team standings at the most recent short course senior state championships.
Anyone who is interested in participating in next yearâ€™s 5k or who wants to set up a training camp in Palau for their swim club should contact Coach Billy Brown at Epicswims@gmail.com.