Guam has announced its two Universality selections for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with both athletes being based in the mainland United States as part of the NCAA college swimming system.
Guam is one of 9 dependent territories that has its own Olympic Committee (4 of the 9 are territories of the United States), meaning that even though it is a part of the USA, Guam has its own Olympic Committee and sends its own delegation of athletes to the Olympic Games. They’ve done so at every Olympics since 1992, including 8 to London in 2012.
This year’s team will include two swimmers: Pilar Shimizu and Ben Schulte, both of whom were born Tamuning: the territory’s economic and tourist center.
“I think back to the opening ceremony in London and remember how excited I was right before the Guam delegation walked out into the stadium during the athletes’ march,” Schulte said. “It’s the biggest rush I’ve ever had and I’m so excited to feel that again. All the athletes live together in the Olympic Village, so there’s a good chance that I’ll run into people like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps and all these other incredible athletes. My race will be on the first day of competition, so I’ll have the rest of the Games to enjoy and watch the other sports. I’ll be able to watch the best athletes in the world make history from the front row. You can’t take it lightly. I don’t really have any words to express how much I’m looking forward to it, and I’ve never been more motivated in practice.”
Both swimmers are repeat Olympians for Guam; at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Shimizu placed 42nd in the 100 breaststroke and at 16 became the country’s youngest-ever Olympian. Schulte competed in the open water 10k marathon swimming event, where he placed 25th out of 25 participants.
While neither swimmer placed higher than 43rd at last year’s World Championships, both have had international success. Schulte has 5 medals from the Pacific Games, including winning both the 200 IM (2:09.22) and 400 IM (4:39.11) at the 2015 championships. Simizu has 2 Pacific Games medals and 3 Oceanic Championships medals of her own.
Shimizu is a former member of the team at Johns Hopkins, and while she is no longer on the team’s roster, she is a member of the schools record-setting 200 yard medley relay from 2014.
Schulte is a 6-time MAAC Conference Champion for Bryant University and was named the MAAC Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet as a freshman. His best time of 1:03.42 in the 100 breaststroke earned him the Universality choice for Guam, which allows countries without an athlete who has hit the normal qualifying standards to bring 1 male and 1 female swimmer in one event each.