Coach ‘O’ to be honored

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Mokihana Aquatics coach Orlando “O” Anaya introduces Jordan Estenzo-Fernandez, Monday afternoon during the tryouts for Mokihana Aquatics at the Kauai High School pool. Anaya is one of 15 named to the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018.

LIHUE — “It’s a secret no longer,” said Mokihana Aquatics head coach Orlando “O” Anaya. “The Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame has posted its 2018 inductees and will announce it in an advertisement in the June 11th edition of the Star Advertiser. The gig is up.”

Anaya, affectionately called Coach O, is one of 15 inductees named to the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Anaya shares the honor with Willem Sakovich in the Coach category.

“I had wanted to wait until the actual induction on Sept. 8,” Anaya said. “But, everything comes out, Monday.”

Other inductees include Charles Oda, Ken Walsh, Bill Nuenzig, and Catherine Kleindscmidt in the Swimmer category; Karlyn Pipes in the Masters Swimming category; Shigeru Pabila and Ulrich Klinke in Ocean Swimming.

Robert Via gets the nod for Water Safety; Anita Rossing and Dr. Dennis Rowe will be inducted in the Diving category; the late K. Mark Takai, Sui Lan Ellsworth, and Alton Motobu will be Contributors.

“What an amazing honor this is for myself personally, and for all of Kauai,” Anaya said. “Being honored alongside swimming greats like Duke Kahanamoku, Bill Smith, Ford Konno, and legendary coaches like Soichi Sakamoto, Harry Mamizuka, and Spencer Shiraishi, it is humbling.”

Anaya said the honor makes him the youngest coach to date, and the only coach from Kauai.

“This lifetime achievement is only made possible because of our great support system here on Kauai,” Anaya said. “These supporters — way too many to list — have stood by Mokihana Aquatics throughout the years. Thousands of swimmers have gone through our program, and our numerous directors and officers have supported the vision we built.”

Among the four notable names, Anaya said Winston Kawamoto served as Mokihana Aquatics’ associate head coach for 20 years, “teaching us so much that he can never be repaid;” Jeff Rahill, an assistant coach for 17 years.

“Jeff retired four years ago, and still helps Mokihana — just like Winston,” Anaya said.

Bridget Hoppe Maas is the team nutritionist and trainer, helping Mokihana Aquatics with its direction, and Bo Domingcil is a young coach who showed Mokihana that there are truly great young men out there.

Those wishing to attend the Class of 2018 Induction Banquet, support the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Honor. Reservations can be made online at www.hshof.org for the Sept. 8 event that will take place at the DeRussy Hall, Hale Koa Hotel on Oahu, starting at 6:30 p.m.

“Swimming is what Hawaii is all about, and swimming is about the stories told,” Anaya said. “After 40 years, I could write several books — Mokihana Aquatics can tell you about swimming history. Mokihana Aquatics has been bless with the greatest support system, supporting us through thick and thin. I love you, Kauai — this honor goes to you!”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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