St. Croix native Natalia Kuipers will have another memory to add from her trip to Tokyo for the 2020 Sumer Olympics.
The 19-year-old Kuipers, a rising sophomore on Bryant University’s swim team, set a U.S. Virgin Islands record during her swim in the women’s 400-meter freestyle heat races Sunday night (early Sunday morning in the USVI) at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Swimming in the first of four heat races to determine the eight qualifiers for the finals, Kuipers finished her race in 4 minutes, 39.92 seconds. That broke a 39-year-old USVI long-course record of 4:39.51, set by 1984 Olympian Jodie Lawaetz in April 1982.
That is the fifth U.S. Virgin Islands record — four individual and one relay — Kuipers now holds. She also has the territory’s short-course records in the women’s 200-meter freestyle and 400-meter freestyle and the long-course women’s 1,500-meter freestyle, and shares the long-course women’s 4x50-meter freestyle relay record with Kyra Odlum, Carter Maltby and Lidia Boguslawska.
• St. Croix native Adriel Sanes will take part in his second and final event tonight at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, swimming in a heat race in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke.
Sanes will swim in the second of five scheduled heat races, which begins at 7:42 p.m. today (6:42 a.m. in the USVI), starting in Lane 1.
Sanes qualified for the 200 breaststroke by posting a USVI record time of 2:12.59 during the UANA Tokyo Qualifier in Florida on May 1, making the “B” cut limit and directly qualifying for the Tokyo Games.
• St. Thomas native Nikki Barnes, sailing for the United States in the women’s 470 class, opens competition with two races beginning at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday (1:40 a.m. Wednesday morning in the USVI) in Enoshima Harbor.
Barnes, a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard, is partnering with Lara Dallman-Weiss in the two-person 470 class, which will sail 10 races between Wednesday and Monday, Aug. 2, with the medal race on Wednesday, Aug. 4.
— Bill Kiser