OAHU – Keenan Anaya is swimming his way to state-wide popularity.
Kaua’i’s top age group swimmer won the High Point award last weekend at the 23rd Pearl City Invitational Swim Meet on Oahu.
Anaya, who had entered the meet with an unprecedented 10 State qualifying times in the 13-14 age group, took first place in seven events enroute to scoring 79 points. The second High Point swimmer at the meet scored just 58 points.
He won the 100-Fly, 200 Free, 200 Fly, 100 Free, 200 IM, 100 Back and 50 Free events. He also had a second (200-Back), fourth (200-Breast) and fifth (100-Breast) place finish.
The Mokihana Aquatics swimmer is considered one of the top three in his age group in the State, and will be vying for the overall title at the State Championships, which will take place in late Dec. at Barbers’ Point on Oahu.
Mokihana Aquatics, the only U.S. sanctioned swim team on Kaua’i, placed 10th out of 19 teams at the meet, although the team would have placed higher if it had entered relay events.
“We didn’t want our swimmers to do to much,” said Mokihana head coach Orlando Anaya. “They were already swimming a number of events, and we figured that even if they would have placed high enough for a trophy if we had relays, it was better that they focus on improving their individual times.”
Jr. Anaya was just one of many Mokihana swimmers to make his mark in Pearl City.
Jarred Perry, who has stormed the Hawaii swim world’s oldest youth age group (15-16) after only one year of competitive swimming, reinforced his seven qualifying times with high finishes in the 100-Back (5th) and 200-Back (6th). He has a good chance at making the finals at Barbers Point next month.
The finals is what every athlete heading to Oahu for the State Championships will be swimming for. In the past few years, Mokihana’s top swimmers have developed into finals candidates.
“It’s great to see so many of our kids qualify,” said Coach Anaya. “It’s even better knowing a lot of them have a shot at making the finals this year.”
Katelyn Umetsu, swimming in the 15-16 age group, added her 200-fly time to her State qualifying list. Her 200-fly placed her in seventh at the meet. She also was eighth in the 200-back, another time that qualifies her for States.
Katelyn’s brother, Randy Emetsu, had what coach Anaya called an “outstanding meet,” adding three State qualifying times to his resume. He now has eight qualifying times in total. His highest finishes at the meet were in the 200 IM (4th), 100-Back (4th), 100-Breast (6th), 50-Back (7th) and 50-Breast (8th).
Jason Ebesu improved on his two qualifying times, placing fifth in the 15-16 100-Breast and 200-Breast. Ebesu improved by more than two seconds in each event at the Pearl City meet.
Coach Anaya also highlighted Tyson Chihara and Kelsey O’Connor as having “breakout” meets. The two weren’t expected to make State qualifying times, but they proved everyone wrong last weekend.
Chihara made a State time in the 100-Breast, which he placed 17th in the 11-12 age group. O’Connor qualified in the 50-Back in the 10-under age group. She placed 20th at Pearl City.
Keyah-Leilani Agoot (10-under) had a similarly outstanding meet, adding two State times to improve her tally to seven State qualifying events. She added the 100-back and 200-IM to the list, which already included qualifying times in the 100-fly, 200-free, and 50-fly, among others.
Kelsey Tanaka (11-12) improved on her three State qualifying times. Already having made State times in the 100-free, 200-free and 100-breast, the swimmer improved on each time by more than one second last weekend.
And swimmers Ikeda Torrey (13-14) and Gareth Crabb (10-under) each improved on their times at the meet and have returned to Kaua’i stronger swimmers.