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FOUR SAMOANA STUDENTS "SWIM ACROSS THE BAY" WITH CONFIDENCE

jeff@samoanews.com
Supporters turned out for ASAA’s 2nd annual Swim Across the Bay last Saturday that featured four Samoana High School OS/OS swimmers (front L-R) Deborah Faleseuvaisamoanagalo, Iva Mulitalo, Bless Choi and Johnny Taope. Special guests were former governor Togiola Tulafono and DOC Director Keniseli Lafaele (5th and 6th from left, second row). The swim was from Aua to Utulei Beach Park. See story in today's Sports. [photo: Jeff Hayner]

This past Saturday morning, four Samoana High School students from the Ocean Swimming/Ocean Science (OS/OS) class entered Pago Bay to make their annual American Samoa Aquatics Agency (ASAA) "Swim Across the Bay", which covered approximately 1.3 miles from Aua to Utulei Beach Park.
 
This marks the second year of the swim, which originated in order to highlight the OS/OS students, who not only learn how to swim during the class, but how to survive in open water, along with water safety and water rescue techniques taught by the ASAA.
 
The four OS/OS swimmers who made the swim are; Iva Mulitalo, Johnny Taope, Bless Choi and Deborah Faleseuvaisamoanagalo.
 
Along with fellow Samoana students,  the four have also spent time in the classroom where they have learned about Ocean and Marine Science and Ocean Conservation taught by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS). 
 
Instructors of the ASAA swam with the young OS/OS swimmers with the Department of Public Safety Marine Patrol on their jet skis and rescue boards keeping an eye on the whole group as they made their way across the bay during the event, which took approximately 45 minutes.
 
“We did not want the swim to be too long — but not too short, either. The main thing we were focusing on was highlighting the students by having them show what they learned as they swam correctly, comfortably and with confidence across the deep waters of the bay,” said head of the ASAA Zero Iaulualo.
 
 “I want to thank everyone who helped make this day possible in getting these young OS/OS swimmers ready for this swim,” said Iaulualo.
 
Among the crowd that gathered at the beach to greet the swimmers were parents, family members and supporters, which also included former governor of American Samoa Togiola Tulafono. The former governor attended the first swim last year as well.
 
The Department of Commerce Director, Keniseli Lafaele was also there with the former governor to greet the swimmers when they made their way to shore.
 
Lafaele, who represented the government said, “Thank you so much. You swimmers have inspired a lot of young people since the first day last year, up to this very day.” The director also stated he will convey to other departments the need to find ways to fund the swim program.
 
The former governor and the director both said they will convey the message to Governor Lolo M. Moliga, asking him to allow the ASAA to become the official program of the territory to train and certify its lifeguards.
 
Commenting on their participation, each one of these young swimmers thanked the ASAA and NMSAS for teaching them about the ocean and swimming.
 
 In other swimming news, the ASAA started its lifeguard and aquatics Safety Instructor's class yesterday afternoon at Utulei Beach.
 
For more information about the ASAA, visit its facebook site at: AmSamoa Aquatics Agency Asaa or stop by the Utulei Beach when you see the yellow ASAA flags flying.



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