Red Raiders take overall KIF title

Kaua‘i High’s swimmers nabbed four automatic state qualifying times and eight consideration times in the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation Swimming Championship meet Saturday. This performance gave the Raiders the overall KIF title.

Tyson Chihara, a Kaua‘i High junior, automatically qualified in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:15.01. Chihara knew he could swim a qualifying time, but wanted to make sure of it.

“You always want to improve,” he said.

Chihara also swam a consideration time of 1:08.90 in the 100-yard breastroke race. Teammate Russell McClusky posted a consideration in the same race with a time of 1:11.13.

“The turns have been my weak point all season,” the Kaua‘i High senior said while contemplating the race. “But I’m going to try the best I can.” This was McClusky’s first consideration time after trying all season.

Matt Ross, another Kaua‘i High 11th grade swimmer, automatically qualified for states in one individual race, the 200-yard freestyle (1:57.44), and was a part of the qualifying Boys 200-yard medley relay, which consisted of Chihara, McClusky and Kyson Gusukuma. Ross and Chihara were also part of the qualifying 400-yard freestyle relay with Noah Murray and Kelsey Tanaka.

Gusukuma, a Raider team captain, also posted consideration times in the 200-yard freestyle (2:03.33) with his second finish, and the 500-yard freestyle (5:34.81).

Kaua‘i senior co-captain Meaghan Sims swam a 6:08.55 in the 500-yard freestyle, the meet’s longest race. Her time, although not fast enough for an automatic state qualification or for state consideration, breaks the 6:08.80 KIF record time set by Sims just last year. Sims felt relieved the race was over.

“This was the first time I’ve done this race this year. I swam it at the championships because I just wanted something to be my signature race.”

At the beginning she was aware of where the other swimmers were, until she got into the zone.

“I just got into the flow of it,” Sims said.

Kaua‘i’s girls had two relay teams post consideration times. Nina Albano, Brittany Maldonado, Chelci Lamay and Trisha Lamay swam a 1:54.91 for the 200-yard freestyle relay. Casie Ford, Chelci Lamay, Trisha Lamay and Sims swam 4:15.78 for the 400-yard freestyle medley.

Overall, Kaua‘i won both the boys and the girls meets and the team KIF titles. The boys scored a total of119 points, while the girls totaled 81. Both Kapa‘a boys and girls teams took second.

Kapa‘a High’s girls 200-yard medley relay, although not breaking any records for the meet, posted a personal best. The lead off swimmer Tiana Amo gave the team a good lead in the backstroke. Second leg Pauline Lucas held the full-body lead tapping the wall with the breastroke, giving Tania Rames the go-ahead signal in the butterfly segment. Kaua‘i’s Meaghen Sims caught up with her making the anchors race a close one. Kapa‘a’s Camielle Brady toughed it out, reaching for the wall first for a state consideration time of 2:10.26.

“It’s a hard race to be in,” said Lucas.

This is the first time in 11 years that Kapa‘a swam a consideration time in the medley.

Anchor Brady was nervous about being the last leg of such a close race.

“I was thinking, ‘I hope I can keep the lead,’” she said. “The whole thing — this whole race — rests on me.”

Kapa‘a’s boys also earned a qualifying time. Dylan Haight, Garrett Stephen, Aaron Belmonte and James Hitchcock swam the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:48.13.

Island School Michelle Woltman took the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:08.80, for the school’s lone individual consideration time. Woltman anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Sarah Faraola, Sonya James and Jasmine Blaine, which posted a consideration time of 4:20.09.

Freshman Melanie Grindle was the only swimmer for Kula School to swim a consideration time. She swam the 50-yard freestyle in 26.90.

• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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