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TASI LIMTIACO EARNS SPOT IN PARIS POOL

Polowat/CHamoru swimmer to represent Oceania region

By Patrick Lujan

Tasi Limtiaco is having himself some late success in his swimming career, as of late. Not only was he a three-time gold medalist in the 2023 Pacific Games, he recently qualified to swim in the Summer Olympics to represent the Oceania flag as well as the Federated States of Micronesia and Guam.

Tasi Limtiaco

Tasi (which means ‘ocean’ in CHamoru) could very well have been named Lehet, which is the same meaning in Polowat, where he was born in 1994.

2023 Pacific Games

Limtiaco shined in last year’s Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands, winning gold in the 50m, 100m, 200m breastroke events as well as a silver in the 400m Individual Medley.

“That was a huge step forward for Micronesia because we never won any medals for swimming,” Limtiaco said.

Asked what those gold medals have done for him, he replied, “Definitely getting a lot more noticed. I picked up a couple of sponsors, which always helps out. Picking up recognition back in FSM and motivate some of the kids back home.”

Polowat Roots

Tasi’s dad Rob Limtiaco was in Polowat (a municipality atoll of Chuuk) some 30 years ago to hone his skills as a master canoe carver. That is where the elder Limtiaco met Tasi’s mom Terisda Yaluwairh. In fact, Rob learned the unique trade from Tawa, Tasi’s great uncle.

Tasi was brought to Guam when he was 5-years-old to attend school, where he eventually graduated in 2012 at Harvest Christian Academy.

All along, the young swimmer never gained his Guam eligibility and never represented Guam in international competition, instead just participated in club swim meets.

Tasi Limtiaco (red trunks) breaks out of the block at the World Aquatics Championships 2023 in Japan. (courtesy photo)

Late Bloomer

After receiving a college degree in management information from a Japanese college in Yamanashi, his swimming career took off – considered late as most swimmers peak in their early 20’s.

“I’m faster than I was in college, which is kind of crazy,” Limtiaco said. “I’m definitely a lot stronger and faster as I reached my late 20’s.”

He would represent FSM at the 2018 Oceania Swimming Championships and most recently in April, where he medaled three times against the best in Oceania.

Limtiaco made the move to San Diego in October 2022 where he now lives and works, to specifically train the breaststroke with Coronado Swim Team Elite.

“I came out here specifically to train with them. Two of my coaches have both been refining my technique. It’s a different sort of training, specific to my event I’m aiming for in Paris.

“They just have so much knowledge and know-how. They’ve been very innovative and patient, pushing me every single day.”

2nd Olympic Games

After experiencing the thrill of diving into an Olympic pool during the Tokyo Games in 2022 in the 200m IM, Limtiaco gets another chance. This time in Paris where he will compete in the 100m breastroke on July 27.

“I was excited, especially to be selected for a second Olympics,” Limtiaco recalls when he received his placement for Paris. “The past four years after the Tokyo Games, this is what I’ve been training for. It’s beyond words.”

Tasi Limtiaco at the World Aquatics Championships 2023 in Japan. (courtesy photo)

Knowing that this could be his final international competition, Limtiaco is hoping to stay within distance of the pool and eventually settle into a career that keeps him close, either as a coach or an administrator in hopes of continually representing Oceania, FSM and Guam aquatics.

NOTES: Tasi is fluent in three languages – English, Puluwatese and Japanese; The FSM Census of 2010 estimated the population of Polowat at 745 people.

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