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Inspirational Role Model

QUALITY TIME WITH MAYA DIRADO

Duke & Silas spend some quality time with Maya DiRado. Mahalo USA Swimming!

Huge Mahalo to USA Swimming and Big Island Swimming for organizing a wonderful event for our swimmers. A group of our age group and senior swimmers had a great time with 2016 Rio Olympic Champion Maya DiRado. We all learned so much and are now so inspired.

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2018 Qualifying Time Standards

2018 USA NATIONAL & HAWAII STATE QUALIFYING TIME STANDARDS

2018 National USA & Hawaii State Swimming Time Standards

Aloha Gang! We just updated the USA National and Hawaii State Swimming Qualifying Time Standards page on our website. Click on the image above to jump to the updated page. Mahalo!

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Congratulations Girls!

KU'ULEI & MAILE TAKE 1ST & 2ND OVERALL WOMEN HONORS

2017 Kukio Ocean Swim Start!

By Rick Winters - West Hawaii Today

KAILUA-KONA — At first glance, the Kukio Blue Water Swim was plagued by bad luck.

With extremely choppy seas, the 12th annual 1.2-mile trek from Kua Bay to Kukio was set up to be a borderline torturous experience in the water.

However, while the conditions were tough, swimmers seemed to embrace the challenge against the wind and white surface breaks. Several even went as far as calling it a “fun” experience as they stood safely on dry land.

Even a controversial finish due to uncertainty about finish line placement by the two overall leaders of the race couldn’t dampen the spirits of anyone enjoying a day at the beach.

In a sprint out of the water up an unusually steep incline through soft sand, Aapo Eerola managed to edge out Tim Marr by inches with a time of 27 minutes and 57 seconds to pick up the win.

There was only one problem. Marr actually crossed the finish line first.

Coming into the bay, Eerola and Marr were battling stroke for stroke with a group of four or five other swimmers. Both athletes hit the sand at the same time, but Marr struggled just for a second to get to his feet. This allowed Eerola to get a step or two advantaged heading into the sprint.

Eerola reached the top of the sand, ran just past the clock timing the event, and slowed down, with Marr hesitating behind him. However, suddenly Marr noticed that the finish line stood another five feet past the clock. He managed to get a shoulder in front of Eerola and both swimmers dove to the line, with Marr getting the slightest of an advantage.

It was a veteran move by the former professional triathlete, however, due to both runners thinking the race was over just before the line, it was decided that Eerola would get the victory.

This was fine with Marr, who was all smiles after the race while basking in the irony of what would become another second place finish.

“Because of the confusion we pretty much crossed the finish line at the same time so I think it was the right call to give it to him since he had the edge coming up the beach,” Marr said. “It’s funny. The last time I was in this race in 2008 I had a similar experience. I got second in that one too. This is also my fourth second place finish of the year.”

With running as his strength, Marr also found the humor in the fact that he keeps getting beat on the sprint in swimming events.

“I’m a triathlete, I shouldn’t be losing on the run up the beach,” Marr said with a laugh. “But it is all good. This race is really fun and I love getting challenged by these young guys. It keeps me young.”

Young challengers being at the front of the pack at Big Island open ocean swims has become commonplace. Year after year, high school and youth club swimmers have been dominating races of similar distances.

For Eerola — a Hawaii Preparatory Academy student and member of the Academy Swim Club — he’s a perfect 2-of-2 in ocean swimming events. His first victory came earlier this year in the Cinco de Mayo Splash , the first of three races in the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

But the win did not come easy.

“I drank a lot of water during the middle portion of the race,” Eerola said. “There were pretty much waves all the way through.”

As for the confusion at the end, Eerola laughed his mistake off

“That is what happens when you don’t listen to the rules,” he said.

Familiar names lead female race

Two women very familiar with open water swimming led the female list of finishers on Saturday. Kuuleionalani Patterson managed to beat Maile Lawson to the line with an overall fourth place finishing time of 28:02. Lawson crossed in 28:11, good for fifth place and second female honors.

For Patterson, the win was an unexpected surprise, despite having plenty of success in her young racing career.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to be first because I was a little tired and dragging at the start of the race,” Patterson said. “Pretty early on though I started to feel a little better and by the end of the race I was pushing myself to the finish line, telling myself, ‘I can do this, I can win.’”

When Patterson finally did cross the finish line as the female winner, she was relieved.

“I pushed myself harder than I ever have for a really long time,” Patterson said. “I was really close to falling up the hill at the end, but I just sprinted as fast as I could.”

For Lawson, the race was a challenging one, mostly due to the conditions.

“This was definitely a brutal race,” Lawson said. “It was pretty choppy and I was constantly going up and down with the waves and swallowing a bunch of water every time I tried to take a breath. A lot of us had to take a break and stand up in the water to breath.”

This was Lawson’s first time competing in the race, although she has plenty of experience and hardware from racing in open water events. But when she reached the sand at Kukio, she was exhausted and then she saw the hill in front of her.

“I remember getting out of the water and looking at the hill and I was like, ‘Oh,’” Lawson said. “It was definitely not a normal beach kind of finish. I walked it, I really didn’t run it, so I don’t know what that is like.”

At the end of the day though, Lawson was thrilled to have participated in one of the few swims on the Big Island that starts and ends in different places. 

“It was really fun and I would do it again,” Lawson said. “I have never swam Kukio before and it was fun looking at the terrain after coming around the point. I now also know that I can swim from Kua to Kukio. I did not know I could do that before so that’s something.”

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3 Golds for Coach Steve!

COACH STEVE PULLS OFF HAT TRICK AT US MASTERS NATIONALS

By Rani Henderson - West Hawaii Today

Kona’s Steve Borowski pulled off an impressive hat trick over the weekend by sweeping all three swimming events he entered at the 2017 US Masters Summer National Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Borowski competed in the men’s 70-74 age group, winning the 100-meter freestyle on Saturday in a time of one minute and 5.54 seconds, the 50-meter butterfly in 30.81 seconds, followed by the 50-meter freestyle in 27.93.

Borowski’s time in the 50-meter freestyle was also just two-tenths of a second off the current world and national record set in 2015 by Richard Abrahams.

“My goal was just to do my best and not worry about place, time or even the race,” Borowski said over the phone. “For me, the journey was 90-percent, and the race was the end of it.”

Borowski added that while he has always been really good at controlling the psychological side of things when it comes to racing, he was surprised to find that he had trouble controlling his pre-race emotions, including feeling a little scared right before the race.

“My heart rate was really high during the warm ups, and even during breakfast and throughout the day,” Borowski said with a laugh. “I kept telling myself to settle down but I think I was just really excited.”

On his first event, the 100-meter freestyle, Borowski found himself seeded in the lane next to Andrew McPherson, the one competitor favored to win all the events that Borowski planned to compete in.

“I was just behind him on the first 50 (meters) on that first event in the 100 freestyle,” Borowski said. “Then I caught and passed him on the second 50 and after we finished, he told me that he couldn’t believe how fast I came by him at the end. On the second day, I think I was behind him on the dive getting off the block on the 50 butterfly, but I was strong on the second half.”

And in Borowski’s final event, the 50-meter freestyle, he thought that it would be his weakest event. Turns out he nearly matched the world and national record of 27.71.

“I was placed in Lane 1 so I really couldn’t see how everyone else was doing,” he said. “So I just closed my eyes and went as hard as I could. I think I only took like three breaths and on that last lap, I actually swallowed a bunch of water. I felt like I was dying as I had no air for the last 15 meters or so. So when I finished, I was almost afraid to look at the scoreboard. But when I saw my name at the top I was like, oh my god! I couldn’t believe it!”

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2017 MASTERS NATIONALS - BACK STORY

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD TO MINNEAPOLIS

By Rani Henderson - West Hawaii Today

Just three months ago, Steve Borowski could barely swim one length of the 25-yard lane at the Kona Community Aquatic Center swimming pool.

It was a surreal moment and one hard to imagine for the legendary aquatic coach and Hawaii Waterman Hall of Famer, who began his career earning All-American honors in swimming and water polo, followed by four decades coaching thousands of athletes to excel in the pool and ocean.

While not having the strength and stamina to swim such a short distance may have deterred most athletes from returning to the pool, it was quite the contrary for Borowski. He was motivated more than ever and for a good reason.

Borowski — who decided to step back in January as head coach of the Kona Aquatic age group and Kealakehe High School swim teams — shared that he had quietly faced a few physical challenges during the first three months of the year that became tough mentally and emotionally to deal with.

“I noticed that I had a tremor in my hand around the first of the year, about the time that I stopped coaching age group,” the 69-year old Holualoa resident said. “After I did a lot of research online, I read that I had all of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. It was super scary as I read there is no cure, and basically, you are going to die slowly and it’s really bad. So you can imagine what that did to me mentally.”

During those first three months, Borowski said that he saw two doctors and again, everything pointed to Parkinson’s. While he was finally able to get an appointment to see a neurologist on Oahu, the waitlist was six-months out.

“January, February and March was hell mentally,” he said. “I finally semi-retired and then I was faced with having to figure out the rest of my life — who’s going to care for me, what’s going to happen, just everything. I was seriously depressed and it was such a tough time. There were all of those psychological variables that played into the physical side of things.”

And during those distressing months, Borowski said that he had his third surgery completed — two knees and an elbow — all done within six-months of one another to repair his meniscus and other soft tissue tears. There was never a time when Borowski felt so low.

But that was until he received a phone call from the neurologist for an earlier opening in their schedule, an appointment he booked immediately.

“I finally get to see this neurologist in March and after he does all of these tests on me he says; ‘You don’t have Parkinson’s. Your father had the same thing and your symptoms mimic Parkinson’s to a ‘T’, but you have something called an essential tremor.’”

An essential tremor affects the nervous system and causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. It can affect almost any part of your body, but the trembling occurs most often in your hands, especially when attempting to do simple tasks such as writing, drinking from a glass, or tying shoelaces. While it can occur at any age, and can range from mild to severe, it is most common in people ages 40 and over.

“I’ve had light shakes for awhile now but it’s gotten a little worse,” Borowski said. “So when he told me that I didn’t have Parkinson’s it was such a huge relief. I was like, oh my God, this is just unbelievable! In that moment, my life turned around. I felt like I was given another chance.”

While Borowski had already planned on attending the U.S. Masters Swimming Summer National Championships held Aug. 2-6 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to help coach a friend who was competing, his renewed sense to live life to the fullest gave him the confidence to enter the event himself.

“I made the decision to go after I found out that I didn’t have Parkinson’s,” Borowski said. “I said; ‘Why not? Who cares, I should just go and have fun!’ When I started training for this three months ago, I couldn’t even kick when doing butterfly or do flip-turns. I still had a whole bunch of stuff going on with my knees and elbow. And I’m still not a 100-percent.”

Yet slowly but surely, Borowski found his way back into the lanes that earned him All American honors during his teenage and collegiate years, to setting the world, national and state records in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly as a 50-year-old.

Borowski did it again at age 55, setting world, national and state records in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle, and the 50-meter and 100-meter butterfly events, but that would become the last time that Borowski was in the pool.

Now, 15 years later and on a scant three months of actual swim training, Borowski plans to compete in three long course events at the USMS Summer National Championships in the men’s 70-74 age division: 50-meter freestyle, 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

“I’ve been lifting weights a lot because I know that I’m not going to get my aerobic base to where I want it to be, but I could build upon my strength,” he said. “But I have to be really careful with my rehab while I’m strength training. I’m in the gym at least 4-5 times per week, and almost everyday in the pool. I usually do about 3000 meters in the pool that is blended between free, fly, and varying intensities. I also train by myself so it’s been tough. And with the increase in exercise, I’ve lost 22-pounds but I feel great.

Borowski says that there will be over 1000 athletes at the swim meet competing in varying age groups with of course, high caliber competition coming from the men’s 70-74 age group.

“There’s a guy in my age group that won all four events in May - Andrew McPherson - he’s going to be there,” he said. “Looking at his times and looking where I am at now, I’m kind of doubtful that I’ll be able to beat him. And while there’s been so many challenges just to get here, it’s been really good. I’m going in with a whole different mindset.”

Borowski’s first competition at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center’s 50-meter indoor pool is the 100-meter freestyle scheduled for today at 12:55 p.m. He will continue with the 50-meter butterfly on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. followed by the 50-meter freestyle at 12:45 p.m.

While Borowski plans to just have fun and enjoy his renewed zest for competition, for those who don’t think they can be competitive at an older age, the legendary Aquatic King has some sound advice.

“Being competitive to me means focusing on self and not others and all the other outside variables that come along with a major competition. It’s okay to be nervous. I call it excited. The journey is 90 percent.”

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2017 LC Junior Nationals

kona-aquatics-loves-ny.jpg

CHEER MAILE ON AT THE 2O17 LC JUNIOR NATIONALS

Hey Gang! Maile Lawson will be traveling to New York to compete at the 2017 LC Junior Nationals to be held in East Meadow New York. Maile will be swimming the 100 and 200 breaststroke events and is the FIRST KONA Aquatics swimmer to compete at this meet! 

The Junior Nationals is for outstanding swimmers in the US who are aged 18 and below. The meet is the last stepping stone to competing in US Senior Nationals and US Olympic Trials. Way to go Maile! Good luck! We're all so proud of you!

HUGE THANK YOUs to Maile's "sparing" partners: Kuuz, Duke, Ryan, Sheri, Brenda and all of the KONA Aquatics masters swimmers! Big Mahalo to our county pool staff for their positive vibes and morning smiles :)

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STAYING FIT DURING THE OFF-SEASON

TIPS ON STAYING FIT FOR NEXT SEASON

Pone paddle boarding is an excellent way to stay fit during the offseason!

STAYING FIT DURING THE OFF-SEASON - By Bridge Athletics

STEP OFF THE POOL DECK

This is the time to step back from your rigorous training and do other things. Swimmers are more than welcome to hop in the pool a few times to keep the feel for the water, but don’t hit the pool every day. Instead, use this opportunity to travel, hang out with friends and family, and explore other hobbies.  As significant a part of your life as swimming is, leading a balanced lifestyle will help you maintain a good perspective and keep you from mentally burning out. Additionally, swimming less during this period will help your body repair chronic injuries that built up during training this year.

BE SMART ABOUT CROSS-TRAINING

Every year, there seems to be one athlete who got too excited with cross training and returned to pre-season already injured. Don’t be that person. Take advantage of the sports and activities around you rather than sitting on the couch all break, but be smart about the movements you engage in. For example, running all break when you normally never run could lead to injury because your body is less used to high-impact cardio exercise. Instead, opt for a variety of activities that are both fun and social. Go surfing, hiking and mountain biking. Try stand-up paddle boarding, or one-man canoe paddling if it is available to you. Play sports with friends. Maintaining your fitness this way can be easy and fun instead of seeming like a chore.

MAINTAIN YOUR STRENGTH

Getting back into training in a few weeks will be a much easier transition if you maintain your baseline level of strength. This does not require much investment on your part during your break either. You can do a 30-45 min weight room session a few times per week, or if you do not lift weights yet, you can get in a few sets of pull-ups, push ups, and squats every other day. This will not only maintain your muscle tissue, but it will also keep your body used to the pattern of movements you normally engage in for dryland. You’ll stay fitter during your break and feel better when training starts back up.

Keep these tips in mind for the next couple of weeks, and enjoy your well-deserved break!

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Off-Season Nutrition Tips

EATING WELL DURING THE OFF-SEASON

Off-Season Nutrition Tips - By Jill Castle, MS, RDN

When the swim season is over, swimmers often wonder if they should change their eating habits. Should they continue to focus on the training diet? Should they eat as frequently as they have been or should they taper eating to reflect a decrease in exercise? Are there foods they can eat to preserve their physique?

When the swimming season ends, eating patterns need to shift to accommodate the decreased demand for energy and nutrients. The goals for eating during the off-season include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping the muscle tone and mass that has been accumulated during the season, and matching nutritional requirements for continued growth and development.

Off-season eating may not be easy for some swimmers, as the habit (and perhaps enjoyment) of eating large portions, pre-training snacks and post-training recovery foods may have become ingrained, making them challenging to reverse.

I like to remind athletes of the difference between a training diet and a regular healthy approach to eating. The training diet not only includes foods that help the athlete meet the demands of exercise and improve performance, it also is a mindset and strategy for getting the most out of the season. The swimmer can think about the off-season diet in this same framework: a focus on nutritious foods that match needs for growth and maximizes health.

One mistake I see young athletes make, in general, is failing to adjust their eating patterns after the season has ended.

I’ve got some quick tips to help swimmers accommodate the changes in training that naturally occur in the off-season phase.

Reduce Calories

It’s no surprise swimmers burn a lot of calories in the pool during the competitive season. As such, the young swimmer especially needs to maintain a calorie intake that covers the demands of swimming and his nutritional requirements for growth and development.

In the teen swimmer, calorie requirements can be as high as 4,000 calories per day (or more), depending on age, gender and training schedule. However, when swim season ends and training tapers off significantly, such a high calorie intake isn’t necessary.

There are a few easy ways to taper caloric intake with a non-dieting approach. One is by reducing the portion size of the hefty pre-training snack. Most growing athletes, even if they aren’t actively training, will need a nutritious afternoon snack to meet daily nutritional requirements and help with appetite management. However, if the swimmer

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MAILE & DUKE CRUSH COMPETITION

BECKER, LAWSON WIN 10 GOLDS, BREAK THREE HAWAIIAN RECORDS AT STATES

By Rick Winters - West Hawaii Today

Two big island swimmers stole the show at the 2017 Hawaii Age Group Long Course Championships over the weekend.

Kona Aquatics’ Duke Becker and Maile Lawson glided by several state records, while picking up multiple gold medals to lead their club to a seventh place overall finish at the meet, which took place the the Kihei Aquatics Center on Maui.

Due their performances in the pool, both swimmers won the high point standout athlete award in their respective age groups. Becker competed in the boys 11-12 year old division, while Lawson swam in the girls 15-16 year old class.

“It was pretty cool to have two high point athletes on one team,” said Kona Aquatics head coach Eric Rhodes. “Between the two of them they had 10 gold medals and three Hawaiian records. It was kind of nuts because we spend a lot of time training in the ocean, not a pool. I was really thrilled.”

Duke Becker opened the 2017 meet with a bang, grabbing to state records early, which came in the 400-meter IM (5 minutes and 11.65 seconds) and the 200 breaststroke (2:44.21). However, he did not go out with a fizzle. Becker added three more individual gold medals, which came in the 50 breaststroke (34.04), 100 breaststroke (1:15.41) and the 200 IM (2:27.80).

“Duke was phenomenal, untouchable,” Rhodes said. “I knew coaching him six weeks ago he was going to do really well. He was doing collegiate workout sets that where high intensity and challenging.”

Becker was a team player as well, adding four more trips to the top of the podium in relay races, along with Nolan Morton and Aiden Ankrum. The trio, making up three-fourths of four winning relay teams, claiming medals in the 400 freestyle (4:29.66), 200 freestyle (2:02.20), 400 medley (5:05.75) and 200 medley (2:14.75).

Keaulana Haserot filled in the fourth role on the two freestyle relay wins, while Gared Sarubbi-Monell claimed two golds with the medley relays.

“They were our rag-tag group of bad news bears,” Rhodes said. “Everyone else showed up in fancy uniforms and these guys came in wearing surf shorts and swept all the relays they entered. I am really proud of them.”

As for Lawson, she found gold early too, but seemed to get faster as the meet progressed with her biggest victory coming on Sunday in the 200 breaststroke. Lawson claimed the gold with a time of 2:37.58, which broke a state age group record more than 30 years old. The previous best time was set in 1985 by Nadine Takai.

“She actually had an off-swim,” Rhodes said. “We are thrilled she got the record, but she probably could have went faster.”

Lawson entered the meet finally feeling healthy after dealing with back and shoulder issues.

“This was the first time in a long time that she was healthy and she was having a lot of fun,” Rhodes said. “We were able to get her ready to go.”

Lawson showed a lot of versatility in the water, also claiming golds in the 400 IM (5:12.35), 100 breaststroke (1:12.43), 100 butterfly (1:06.56) and 200 IM (2:25.99).

“What really surprised a lot of people at the meet was how she did in the 100 butterfly,” Rhodes said. “That is not her race but we knew she had it in her. She is versatile, has a great attitude, is fun to coach, smart and talented. As she continues to progress, she has a lot of great opportunities to swim in college.”

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5 Golds . 2 Records . 1 High Point

Duke Becker smiles after his 400 IM & new record breaking effort.

DUKE BECKER BAGS A PAIR OF RECORDS ON MAUI

By J.R. de Groote - West Hawaii Today

KIHEI, Maui — Duke Becker added his name to the record book this week — twice.

The 12-year-old Kona Aquatics swimmer broke two state age-group records at the state long-course swimming championships at Kihei Aquatic Center on Maui.

“I hope the records stay for a while,” Becker said with a laugh. “I really just tried to go in and follow the strategy my coach had set up for me.”

Becker’s first record came in the 400-meter individual medley on Thursday. He set the mark with a time of 5 minutes, 11.65 seconds, finishing almost 20 seconds ahead of the next closest participant. The previous record of 5:17.62 was set in 2013.

His second record-breaking feat came in the 200-meter breaststroke on Friday, clocking a time of 2:44.21. The previous record-time was 2:45.30, set in 2015.

“It was a big day for Duke. He’s just an incredible athlete — very talented and coachable with a great attitude,” Kona Aquatics age-group head coach Eric Rhodes said. “He’s been crushing these state records.”

For good measure, Becker added his third individual gold in the 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 34.04, just edging the second place finisher Aidan Allred (34.69).

Becker was also a part of Kona Aquatics’ two gold winning relay teams in the 400-meter freestyle (4:29.66) and medley (5:05.75). The core trio of Becker, Nolan Morton, Aiden Ankrum swam on both relay squads, while Keaulana Haserot contributed on the freestyle relay and Gared Sarubbi-Monell on the medley team.

“All those guys are the same age, so it’s going to be a lot of fun seeing them come up together,” Rhodes said.

The Maui meet continues through Sunday, and Rhodes predicts a few more records could fall, especially with speedy Kona Aquatics swimmer standout Maile Lawson set to swim.

“We are not the biggest program here, but we have a ton of talented swimmers,” Rhodes said. “I think it surprises some people. They ask us what the secret is.”

Among the other clubs swimming on Maui from the Big Island are Academy Swim Club, the Kona Dolphins, Hilo Aquatic Club, Hawaii Island Swim Club and Warrior Aquatic Club.

Becker — who attends Innovations Public Charter School — has a few more races to compete in, but away from the pool there is some fun to be had.

“I have a lot of friends on other swim teams that I only get to see a few times a year, so I’m excited to hang out with them” Becker said. “I’m just really hyped up for the next two days.”

For those looking to follow the event, live results are available at: results.teamunify.com/hslsc/.

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Tight races light up 2017 King’s Swim

2017 KING'S SWIM

By J.R. De Groote West Hawaii Today

KAILUA-KONA — The King’s Swim came down to a sprint on Tuesday morning at Kailua Bay, providing an explosive start to the Fourth of July.

Brock Imonen and Weilyn Foo guided the lead pack of athletes into Kamakahonu Bay and the young duo were neck-and-neck as they reached the shore. However, Foo stood up in the water just a second too early and it proved to be costly.

Imonen took advantage and dashed up the beach just a little quicker than his peer, clocking a time of 23 minutes and 27 seconds, notching the overall victory in the 1.2-mile race.

Foo followed less than a step behind at 23:28.

It was deja vu for Foo, who also had to settle for second behind Imonen at the Hapuna Rough Water Swim last month after a similar sprint up the sand. However, he wasn’t too down about it postrace.

“I felt like I paced it right, but you can’t change the past,” the Kona Aquatics standout said. “It’s exciting to be in a race like that and to get out of the water and feel the rush.”

Despite placing second, Foo locked up his second consecutive Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, which is presented by Bike Works to the swimmer who records the lowest cumulative time in the three qualifying races — the Cinco de Mayo Splash, the Hapuna Rough Water Swim and King’s Swim.

After more than three miles of swimming, Foo finished with an aggregate time of 1:10:37, just outpacing Bodhi Whitmore (1:10:51), and Imonen (1:10:53) for the title. Foo didn’t win any of the three races, but he showed consistency, reaching the podium in each.

“I kind of knew about how close it was, but I just felt loose out there,” Foo said. “It’s awesome.”

Whitmore placed fourth overall on Tuesday and third in the men’s division with a time of 23:44.

On the women’s side, Maile Lawson notched her third consecutive victory at the King’s Swim with a time of 23:36. She subsequently claimed her first Triple Crown with a cumulative time of 1:07:04.

“I’m excited — it’s awesome,” Lawson said. “I didn’t really know too much about the Triple Crown until this year and a friend explained it to me. But once I heard about it, I figured I could get into it.”

That might be a bit of a modest understatement.

For those doing the math, Lawson was by far the overall winner in the race for the Triple Crown, and she out-swam the next closest female competitors, Noe Vargas (1:14:22) and Kristen Bennett (1:14:33), by more than seven minutes.

However, the humble incoming junior at Hawaii Prep was just happy to see her Kona Aquatics teammates doing well in the King’s Swim.

“I would say it’s like a home race for us. Almost our whole club competes in it,” Lawson said. “We get excited for this and talk about it beforehand. It kind of bonds our team.”

Foo agreed that the Kona Aquatics Club feels fairly at home in the comfortable waters of Kailua Bay.

“I feel like I could close my eyes and race here,” Foo said with a laugh.

In the small area around Kailua Bay that hosted fishing, recreational paddling and even a yoga class on the morning of Independence Day, the 23rd edition of the annual swim competition was the star attraction.

“The conditions were perfect today. There was no swell, the visibility made it gorgeous, and we had terrific water patrol out there, keeping everyone safe,” race director and Kona Aquatics guru Steve Borowski said.

Borowski moved the event to the July 4 a few years ago to avoid conflicts with other things going on around the bay. It has worked swimmingly, as nearly 250 swimmers put barbecues and fireworks on the back burner to finish the race named after King Kamehameha.

“The goal was to create an event for the community, and to give people the chance to swim part of the Ironman course,” Borowski said. “It also was meant to give people a goal to look forward to, which is always important.”

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2017 King's Swim!

KONA Aquatics family, fun & festivities at the 2017 King's Swim

Congratulations to all participants in the 2017 King's Swim. We had a blast hosting everyone in this year's fun and family oriented open ocean swim race. Click on the link below to jump to this year's race results!

2017 King's Swim Race Results

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Hapuna Roughwater Swim

KONA AQUATICS SWIMMERS COMPETITIVE AT 2017 HAPUNA

By Rick Winters - West Hawaii Today 

KOHALA COAST — Contrary to its name, the Hapuna Rough Water Swim took place under smooth conditions as a group of elite, young swimmers battled to the finish in the 39th annual event along the Kohala coast on Sunday.

Taking place on the north side of the beach, Academy Swim Club’s Brock Imonen claimed first place overall with a time of 23 minutes and 36.29 seconds. He was followed by Weylin Foo (23:38.14) and Bodhi Whitmore (23:40.13) rounded out the top three.

In the female division, Taylor Doherty and Maile Lawson — teammates at Hawaii Preparatory Academy but rivals on the club swimming scene with Doherty competing for Academy and Lawson competing for Kona Aquatics — produced a photo finish at the line. Doherty just edged Lawson by four-tenths of a second.

Doherty finished fourth overall with a time of 23:40.38. Lawson was fifth at 23:40.79 and Noelani Vargas rounded out the top three with a 14th place overall time of 24:37.62.

The top 10 swimmers all stayed in a tight lead pack with only 19 seconds separating the first place person from the 10th.

“I knew Doherty was right behind me and so was Bodhi, who passed me right before the finish last time,” Imonen said. “I had to make sure I cut the final buoy close so he could not pass me this time and then it was a sprint to the finish.”

For Doherty, she and Lawson knew it was down to them as they passed that final buoy.

“I swim with Maile a lot and I know her swim suit and goggles well,” Doherty said. “As soon as I made that last turn on my left side, we saw each other and kind of smiled. I knew it was going to be her or I and now we had to kick it into gear.”

Both Lawson and Doherty touched the sand at about the same time, but Doherty managed to out-sprint her competitor in the short run up the beach, edging her shoulder in front of Lawson for the win.

“She (Doherty) is an awesome competitor and is a good swimmer to pace from behind,” Lawson said. “This was a great race with an awesome finish and it was really fun.”

The Hapuna Rough Water swim was the second leg of the Big Island’s Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

The first leg of the competition, the Cinco de Mayo Swim, took place at Anaehoomalu Bay in Waikoloa. Aapo Eerola won the event, but the HPA boarder is back at home in Sweden and did not compete at Hapuna.

Whitmore placed second at the Cinco de Mayo Splash and his overall time of 47:07.13 is good enough to take over first place for the Triple Crown after two races. Foo finished third at Cinco de Mayo and his overall time of 47:09.14 puts him in second place. Imonen is third with a time of 47:26.29, making the boys competition a hotly contested affair entering the Kings’ Swim at Kailua Bay on July 4.

In the female division, Karlyn Pipes placed first at Anaehoomalu but was fourth in the division at Hapuna with a time of 24:40.27. Her overall time of 48.25.27 drops her to second behind Lawson, who has a two-race time of 47.28.79 after also placing second at Anaehoomalu. Third place in the female division is tightly contested between Mina Poppas, Noelani Vargas and Kristen Bennett.

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2017 King's Swim

ALOHA!

Kona Aquatics is very excited about hosting our 23rd Annual King’s Swim, a 1.2-mile ocean swim here at the Kona pier this Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Our race is held to honor King Kamehameha the Great, and it finishes at Kamakahonu Beach where he once lived. Last year’s King’s Swim saw 236 participants finish the race, ranging in age from seven to 79 years of age.

We have fifteen age divisions for both males and females, and awards are given to the top three finishers in each age group. The age divisions are: 10 and under, 11-14, 15-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, and 75 and over. Our goal has always been to keep the entry fee at only $15 per swimmer, and so we ask for sponsorships for each division. The $100 sponsorships help to cover all the expenses necessary to put on this first class race: awards, insurance, hospitality, and also to provide assistance for those who are unable to afford the entry fee.

Kona Aquatics age group and masters swim teams now have about 140 total members. Our Masters program is very likely the most “dropped in” Masters workout in the World, averaging three visiting swimmers per workout. The age group team starts swimmers as young as age seven, and prepares them to compete at the high school level, with many competitions along the way. A great number of Kealakehe High School swim team boys and girls grew up with and continue to swim for Kona Aquatics. We are very proud to have several of our kids go on to swim at the college level: Madison Hauanio, Leahi Comacho, Cara Jernigan, and Katie Jefferson are few of our recent graduates who are continuing their aquatic careers. 

We at Kona Aquatics appreciate your contribution, and, as always, your sponsorship will be announced during the event. A check payable to Kona Aquatics may be mailed, or handed, to me, Eric, or Kristen. Mahalo nui for your consideration and support. Wishing you a wonderful year!

Warmest regards,

Coach Steve

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Racing Start Technique Video

Aloha Team. Here is a link to the video that we all reviewed at this afternoon's practice. We will post this up on our Facebook page and will send out the link to the entire team over the weekend. Super excited with the progress the entire team is making with their dives!

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