9 May 2013
Seventeen junior swimmers from Tonga aged between 10 and 17 years competed in the Fiji Swimming Association Age Group Championships in Suva on May 3-5.
The team from Tonga were extremely successful and won a total of 29 medals at the competition. They represented Tonga in races against teams from Fiji and Samoa.
In the lead up to the competition, the Tonga team trained a minimum of 8 hours each week at the Touliki Naval base pool. They were trained under experienced Head Swim Coach Sue Sadler.
Competing in a chlorine pool was a challenge for these swimmers. They worked hard to perfect their techniques to avoid disqualification during competition in Fiji. Many of the Tonga swimmers had only been swimming in the national squad for a short time and they were up against Fijian and Samoan swimmers who have been training for many years. Their 29 medals at the competition was an astounding achievement.
The Malolo Swim club fund-raised to get the team to Suva by running a Hot Dog stand at the fair at the Waterfront in Tongatapu every Saturday. Significant support was also provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and donations from various community groups in Tonga.
The teams were:
Ioane Siakumi (2 bronze)
Peni Mohetau (2 bronze)
Tomasi Fineanganofo (2 bronze)
Andrew Emberson (1 bronze)
Oliver Stephenson (3 silver, 5 bronze)
George Tonga (3 bronze)
Noelani Day (1 bronze, 1 silver)
Piani Fineanganofo (2 silver)
Calina Panuve (2 bronze)
Laila Panuve (1 gold)
Kaira Fangupo (1 silver, 3 bronze)