Samoa Swimmers off to a Good Start at Commonwealth Youth Games 2023

Samoa's young swimmers break personal bests and national records at the Commowealth Youth Games.

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L-R: Solomona Hamilton, Salani Saaga, Hector Junior Landkilde

7 August 2023 Apia Samoa. Three of Samoa’s swimmers competing at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago have gotten off to a good start with national record-breaking results on the first day.

First up on Day 1 was Hector Junior Langkilde, who hails from Malaela, Amaile, Saleaaumua and Moataa who had gone into the 50m (Long Course Meters) Butterfly event seeded at 26:17 and ended up setting a new national record for Samoa.

Responding to Samoa Global News from Trinidad and Tobago, Samoa Swimming Head Coach Suzie Gwizdala-Schuster said 18-year-old Langkilde set a new personal best and a new national record for Samoa.

“He powered down the lane with a finish time of 25:36, setting a new personal best time and smashing the current 50m butterfly record,” said Schuster.

Samoa’s 50m butterfly record of 25:58 was previously held by Commonwealth Games national swimmer, Thomas Kokoro Frost.

The youngest in a family of five, Hector Junior lives with his parents Tuimavave Hector and Lisi Langkilde in Queensland Australia. He swims for the Nudgee College Swimming Club and attended Wavell State High School.

Hectors father, Tuimavave, is a former Manu Samoa international. His uncle Laulala Langkilde was also a Manu Samoa 15s and 7s international. Hector Junior’s older brother, 19 year old Carlos Langkilde plays 1st Grade for Queensland’s Norths Rugby Club and has just returned from Kenya where he represented Samoa in the Junior Manu.

Proud Samoa Swimming parents who have travelled to Trinidad and Tobago cheering from the stands.

Next up on Day 1 was Solomona Hamilton who competed in the Men’s 100m Backstroke and also emerged with a double record.

“He calmly raced the Men’s 100m (LCM) Backstroke with a seed time of 1:05.47 and dropped over three seconds with a finish time of 1:02.07 claiming both the age national and open national records,” said the Head Coach.

Solomona, 17, is the the first born of Ivapene Seiuli & Clyde Hamilton’s three children. Solomona’s swimming career started in Samoa when his family moved to the Homeland in 2013 where he attended Samoa Primary at Vailele.

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The family moved back to Canberra in 2018 where Hamilton continued his passion for swimming. His siblings, La’auli (14) & Nafanua (13) also swim and have represented Samoa in the Junior Development squad.

Solomona is the grandson of Falesama and Tauveve Seiuli, and Ingrid von Reiche and  William Hamilton.

Closing off Day 1 for Samoa was Salani Sa’aga who is the newest member of the Samoa Swimming family. Sa’aga raced the Women’s 100m (LCM) Backstroke in her debut for her country, completing a time that was within her season average and landing a rank of 14th overall.

Salani, just 15 years old, lives with her parents Christopher and Paula Saaga in Sydney Australia. She is the granddaughter of the late Taituuga Ili Joe Iupeli Saaga and Aloma Sileli Saaga from Malua. On her mom’s side Salani’s grandparents are Fred and Karen Hennessy of Durban, South Afica and Sydney, Australia.

Samoa’s swimming team go into Day 2 today, competing in the Women’s 50m (LCM) Backstroke and Men’s 100m (LCM) Freestyle.

Hector Junior Landkilde, Salani Saaga, Head Coach Suzie Gwizdala-Schuster and Solomona Hamilton.

Samoa’s long serving swimming Coach says she is proud of her young swimmers and Samoa can be assured of a bright future ahead for the sport.

“We thank God for his guidance and protection over Team Samoa here in Trinidad and Tobago. We’ve had a great first day and the athletes are looking forward to the second day of events…”

“Faster times, national records and FINA points are within their reach and we expect another successful day in the pool,” added Schuster.

The seventh Commonwealth Youth Games is being held this week on the Islands of Trinidad and Tobago with over 1000 athletes and para athletes between the ages of 14-18 participating in seven sports managed by 500+ officials.