Showers don’t dampen family fun at Lollipop meet

LIHU‘E — The intermittent showers which punctuated Saturday morning did little to dampen the fun and learning during the Mokihana Aquatics Splash Bash at the Kaua‘i High School pool.

“We had a total of 178 entries and gave out 178 lollipop awards,” said Mokihana Aquatics Coach Orlando “O” Anaya who hosted the family event.

Anaya said the idea came from Jeremy Haupt, the county Department of Parks and Recreation Aquatics Division supervisor, who was able to coordinate pool time needed to prepare for the Splash Bash.

The event — known among the “MokiOhana,” the group of parent supporters, as its annual Lollipop meet — is described as a premier family sporting event because it is open to swimmers as young as 5 and their parents.

Anaya said a lot of the swimmers had just come off graduation from the Mokihana Aquatics Learn to Swim classes held three times during the summer and for many, this was their first taste of “competitive” swimming.

Swimmers 8 years and under could enter as many as nine events while swimmers 9 through 18 years old could enter a maximum of five events, being excluded from the 25-yard events.

During the swim, participants completing the event turned in their entry card to earn a lollipop award.

Mokihana Aquatics swimmers also took on learning roles as Kelsey Tanaka assumed the Head Coach role with Chloe Stokes, coming off the July 4th Swim and SUP event, was presented a lei as Assistant Coach.

Kaitlin Santos and Kaitlyn Jarry handled the registration of swimmers and took a turn as Stroke Judges.

“We served up 80 Jumbo Hot Dog lunches with all the trimmings,” Anaya said, obviously pleased with the strong turnout of both swimmers and spectators. “The best part? Everything was free — from the entry fees to the lunches. There was even free shave ice and popcorn, compliments of Jim Rosa and Rosa Storage.”

Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. delivered some inspirational remarks, coming off his appearance at the Tree Tunnel cleanup on Maluhia Road, started the first race and was the recipient of the first lollipop award.

Anaya said the event would not be possible without the strong support of the MokiOhana, the Mokihana Aquatics swimmers, JoJo’s Anuenue Shave Ice, Kaua‘i Electronics and Love’s Bakery for the free lunches, and all the volunteers’ hard work.

“This is one of the ways Mokihana Aquatics gives back to the community in appreciation for all of its support over the last 29 years,” Anaya said.

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