LIHUE — To be inducted into a hall of fame is great, but to also celebrate with family and friends is even better, said Mokihana Aquatics swim coach Orlando “O” Anaya.
“It was just truly a once in a lifetime experience. It was unbelievable,” Anaya said Tuesday. “I was more honored by the support that I had from everybody. I think I was the only inductee that had people from every island that came out to support. … It was incredible to see that much support for our little island.”
He added: “At one point, I was getting overwhelmed with all the leis before the event started, I had to walk away crying. It was so emotional. I didn’t want anyone to see. It was quite a moving experience.”
Anaya was part of a 2018 class of 15 that was inducted into the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki.
Anaya, a Honolulu native who made Kauai his home in 1979, was inducted as a coach. He said he’s the only inductee from Kauai.
Another distinction of his induction into the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame, Anaya added, is that he’s the youngest coach to be inducted to date at age 57.
“The process, actually, took a while. They notified me, I’d say, more than a year ago. I was notified that I was nominated,” Anaya said. “Then about maybe nine or 10 months ago, I got a letter saying I was a finalist for induction. … Then it was about four or five months ago that they sent me a letter saying it was official, that I would be inducted.”
Anaya’s accomplishments include:
– starting a USA Swimming Age Group program in 1981 in Kapaa (Kapaa Swimming Club)
– coach and founder of Mokihana Aquatics in 1989
– founder of the Hawaii Chapter of the American Swimming Coaches Association in 1984 and later became state president
– coached in the Special Olympics
– is the second-longest tenured head coach in Hawaii next to Ken Suenaga of Pearl City Aquatics
– youngest certified Water Safety Instructor (WSI) nationally for the American Red Cross in 1976 and then became the youngest WSI trainer nationally in 1981
– coached high school swimming on Kauai (Kapaa and Kauai high schools, Island School and the now-defunct Kula High & Intermediate School) and later was the manager for high school swim programs for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation
The other 2018 HOF inductees, some who were honored posthumously, are: Ulrich Klinke, Shige Pabila, Alton Motobu, Mark Takai, Sui Lan Ellsworth, Charlie Oda, Ken Walsh, Catherine Kleinschmidt, William Neunzig, Anita Rossing, Dennis Rowe, Karlyn Pipes, Bill Sakovich and Bob Via.
“To be in any type of hall of fame, a lot of people get in (posthumously). To be eligible for the hall, you have to have a minimum of 35 years of coaching experience. I started coaching when I was 18, 19,” Anaya said. “This is my first year of eligibility, and I got in the first year I was eligible.
“A colleague of mine mentioned to go in as the youngest coach, that’s something that may be there for several generations. Not too many coaches start coaching when they’re 19, 20 years old and they continue for 40 years straight. … Being the only coach from Kauai, I really would like to see other coaches from Kauai, other young coaches, get in. But that’s something we may see stand for a few generations before we see something like that happen for Kauai again.”
Info from Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.