Kaua‘i swimmers make big splash at state meet

Kaua‘i High School freshman Yasmine Ware led the swimming contingent from the Garden Island at the 2012 OC16 Swimming and Diving Championships on Maui over the weekend.

Ware was joined by fellow freshman Kate Machorek and Kapa‘a High School senior Anya Littlefield in competing in individual swims, as well as being part of the relay teams Saturday.

“The Kaua‘i High girls finished fourth overall,” said Leilani Santos, the mother of Kaitlin Santos, who swam in all three Kaua‘i relay events. “It blows my mind Kaua‘i High School just had four girls representing Kaua‘i with two individual entries and three relay events. Awesome.”

Kaua‘i High School, under coach Monique Chow, finished fourth overall with 21 points followed by Kapa‘a High School. Kapa‘a, with coach Kara Kitamura, earlier swept the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation championships for both the girls and boys. Kapa‘a finished 10th overall with seven points on O‘ahu.

Overall, schools from Kaua‘i finished with eight medalist positions, four individual events and four relay events.

“It is without a doubt the best showing ever (at states) in KIF swimming history, and this year, it was all about the girls,” Mokihana Aquatics Coach Orlando “O” Anaya said in an email. “Four individuals in finals, one individual state championship and four relay finalists. The KIF has never had that many finalists at a state championship. Congratulations to the girls of Kapa‘a and Kaua‘i High School. Awesome job. They make Kaua‘i proud.”

Ware topped the individual honors, winning first place in the girls 50-year freestyle with a 23.84 swim, an improvement over her top-seeded 24.54 swim in the preliminaries.

Ware, who broke KIF records in this event during the season, fell just short of breaking the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association record of 23.26 set in 1994 by Keiko Price of Mililani High School.

“Yasmine dominated the women’s 50-yard freestyle and easily outdistanced the field, breaking the 24-second barrier and beating her nearest competitor by more than a second,” Dan Britzmann, Sophie’s father, who volunteered as a deck referee at the state meet, said in an email.

Kate Machorek pulled in a third place in the girls 100-yard backstroke event, touching at 58.89, an improvement over her second-seeded swim of 59.42 in the preliminaries, and attaining a new sectional time.

Littlefield finished with a second place in the girls 500-yard freestyle and a third place in the girls 200-yard freestyle events. Littlefield touched at 5:05.02 in the 500-yard event, an improvement over her fourth-seeded 5:15.26 swim in the preliminaries, and finished with a 1:55.49 swim in the 200-yard event, an improvement over her 1:58.16 fourth-seeded swim in the prelims.

Littlefield completed her showing on Maui by joining fellow swimmers Maluhia Stark-Kinimaka, Lana Vali and Abi Stine with a 1:44.71 sixth place finish in the girls 200-yard freestyle relay, an improvement from the team’s seventh-seeded 1:45.17 swim in the preliminaries.

Kaua‘i High School — with Ware, Machorek, Santos and Sophie Britzmann — finished second in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a 1:40.93 swim, an improvement over the team’s top-seeded 1:41.84 swim in the preliminaries.

Punahou, who finished tops overall in the women’s competition with 47 points, edged out Kaua‘i by a mere .03 second for the top berth, touching at 1:40.90.

“Kaua‘i takes second place at .03 seconds off,” said Anaya. “That’s three one-hundredths of a second from being state champs. It must have been a great race.”

Dan Britzmann said all four girls vowed to bring home the gold to Kaua‘i next year after coming so close.

He said the Kaua‘i girls stunned the field after coming up with the top seed going into the finals over the pre-meet favorites from Punahou School.

“During the finals, Punahou gradually pushed out to a body length lead over Kaua‘i until a furious charge by Ware in the anchor leg had the crowd going wild,” he said.

“The Kaua‘i team came up just short and settled for the silver medal, more than five seconds faster than the current KIF record the team smashed in December,” he added.

The team of Machorek, Britzmann, Ware and Santos also placed sixth (1:55.10) in the girls 200-yard medley relay and fourth in the girls 400-yard freestyle relay (3:42.97).

Dan Britzmann said in addition to the girls’ teams, Kapa‘a High School qualified the boys team of Don Maddock, Bryson Baligad, Kaz Tasic, Joel Ricco and Luan Becerra.

And Island School sent a team consisting of Quinn Hannah-White, James Papa, Tyler Keith and Makali‘i Pratt — all underclassmen coached by Meaghan Sims, a former KIF swimmer.

“It was a fantastic meet for all of our Kaua‘i athletes, and we are very proud of their achievements representing the island,” he said.

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