Training Camp was Opportunity of the Year for Palau in Budapest

Training Camp was Opportunity of the Year for Palau in Budapest

Written by Billy Brown

Team Palau was invited to the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary this past summer.  The team consisted of three swimmers - Osisang Chilton, Shawn Wallace, and first-time participant, Noel Keane.  This meet is always a great meet for Team Palau, and this one was one of the country’s best yet.

The team started off their travels by going to Vienna, Austria for a five-day staging camp along with Fiji, Cook Islands, and American Samoa.  Between the four teams, they had ten swimmers and three coaches having fun and getting used to the time in Europe.  The camp was an absolute success as the four teams were able to get to know each other more, and get to train and get “excited for the meet” together.  They trained twice a day, but took an occasional afternoon off and walked around town, where they took in the sights like the churches, monuments, city life, and experienced a lot of the beautiful Austrian Culture.

With the staging camp finishing up, the team packed their bags and all headed to the train station in Vienna to head over to Budapest.  They traveled together across the miles upon miles of farm fields to Budapest, where they were greeted by the helpful attaché.  After getting settled in the hotel, they got to go swim in the competition pool.  Team Palau love going to this event, because they were able to see all of their good swimming friends again, and start to meet even more great athletes from around the world. 

Team Palau’s three swimmers started to get really exciting as they were able to go watch some of the preliminary games of Water Polo, and be around the event buzz throughout historical Budapest. 

Finally, the moment had come and Team Palau was ready to race.  With Osisang, their veteran of this meet) leading them off, she dropped five seconds in her 200 Freestyle.  Noel, swimming his first ever World Championships at 14 years old, swam a confident 200 Individual Medley, dropping six seconds off his previous best, and setting the National Record in the event.  Shawn, (our 2016 Olympian) dropped a half of a second, and lowered his own National Record in the 100 Freestyle. 

The second half of the meet came, and Team Palau was even more excited, as Osi dropped another five seconds in her 200 Back, setting a National Record, while Noel also set another National Record, this time in the 200 Freestyle.  Shawn finished up will just one tenth off his best time in the 50 Freestyle.

All in all, the trip was one Team Palau will never forget.  As they finished up the meet, a lot more socializing was going on, as our swimmers met a lot more swimmers from the bigger countries, hanging out at the Gold Medal match for Water Polo.  With the Aquatics Venue at full capacity, they were able to experience a game for the record books.  Being able to watch Hungary play Croatia in the final game, in Budapest out of all places, was simply remarkable.

By the time Team Palau got home they were exhausted, but were brought back to life when they saw all of our friends, teammates, and families waiting for them at the airport.  Even though they were on the other side of the world, it makes everyone a smile knowing that they made the small island nation proud.




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