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Tongans here to learn

Paulini Ratulailai
Monday, October 30, 2017

MALOLO Swim Club from Tonga is making use of their trip to Fiji to gain as much experience they can get from the short course regional championship held at the National Aquatic centre.

Coach Vila Day is thankful to Fiji Swimming Association for inviting them over to participate.

Day said this was a good foundation for her swimmers to experience the atmosphere in competing in National level.

"We don't have a swimming pool in Tonga so they train primarily in the ocean and so we have a lot of challenges trying to develop swimming as a sport," she said.

"Our senior swimmers started only about two to three years ago swimming in the ocean and now our younger ones are following in so we come from a humble background with no resources and facilities.

"The main thing for us is that this is the only opportunity for them to participate and get official times and to experience it is very crucial for their development.

"For our senior swimmers this is very crucial for them to be selected for the national team as they must have an official time and they can't get that back home so this is a good opportunity for them.

"Fiji fortunately is closer to us and it is cheaper and our trip is 100 per cent self-funded as we operate in an environment that we don't have resources."

Vila said the expectation from the swimmers was to achieve their personal best times.

"Our next aim is to focus on the Commonwealth Games, Youth Olympics in Argentina and the FINA World Championship in China next year and the most important one the 2019 Pacific Games.

"We will come back to Fiji and compete more on the competition to evaluate our swimmers performance."

The Tongan team has so far won seven medals in the 200m breaststroke where we won two silvers and two bronze.

In the 50m butterfly they won one gold and a bronze and in the 200m free style they won silver.

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