Learning about swimming, the lollipop way

LIHUE — More than 200 lollipops measured the success of the 6th annual Mokihana Aquatics Splash Bash, more affectionately known as the Lollipop Meet Saturday.

Swimmers of all ages were welcome to participate in the meet featuring the four basic swim strokes in either 25-, or 50-yard swims, with all swimmers earning lollipops on completion of the event.

For the Mokihana Aquatics swimmers, the event served as a venue to learn other aspects of swimming, including being timers and swim judges looking for disqualifications.

“When we started this morning, there were only swimmers signed up for the freestyle event,” Mokihana Aquatics Coach Orlando “O” Anaya said. “But as the day unfolded, we had swimmers signing up for the other events and had to move our original timeline back twice to accomodate the swimmers.”

Swimming at the Kauai High School pool, the home pool of Mokihana Aquatics, swimmers not belonging to any organized swim group worked through “competitive” events in the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and individual medley.

Mokihana Aquatics swimmer parents filled in spots of being timers, manning the free shave ice machine, the swim shop, which offered special pricing to sell down inventory, and the hot dog station, where Jim Rosa provided everyone free quarter-pound dogs, a bag of chips and Gatorade.

Anaya said the lollipop meet is designed to give swimmers, especially those who just came out of the summer Learn to Swim program, an opportunity to experience organized swimming in a meet atmosphere.

He was also available to answer questions from parents and swimmers who inquired about becoming a Mokihana Aquatics swimmer.

Lohgan Hanna was one of the younger swimmers who worked through all but one of the events, impressing Anaya with her enthusiasm.

“I also play soccer,” Hanna, whose older sister Bailey is with the National Soccer Academy EuroTour soccer in Europe, said. “I also do gymnastics, dance ballet and soon, I’m going to school.”

Following the swims, parents and swimmers were treated to the Parents Sprint, where one dad, coming off the blocks last, was first to finish, stopping the unofficial clock at 11 seconds for the 25-yard freestyle swim.

No parents were involved, but youngsters had a treat in the Big Splash and Belly Flop contests — all for lollipops.

Anaya said the next big Mokihana Aquatics event is the 25th anniversary of the club’s Fun Meet, where swimmers from around the state and Mainland will converge at the Kauai High School pool for a big meet, Aug. 17 and 18.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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