Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 |
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PUHI — Swim Kauai Aquatics hosted their annual Keiki Meet on Sunday at the YMCA pool in Puhi.
Traditionally held during the KIF High School season, the meet gives SKA’s younger swimmers a chance to shine, and shine they did. The 37 swimmers combined to earn 20 new Hawaiian swimming time standards, and put up 94 new personal best times.
Leading the charge Sunday was Julia Safford, 11, who came away with four new AA times and a perfect meet. Safford’s success came in the freestyle events, grabbing AAs in the 100 (1:10.60), 200 (2:32.43), and 500 (6:36.22) yard events. She also captured an AA time in the 200 yard individual medley event (2:53.43).
Several teammates followed her lead, also achieving perfect meets and dropping time in every race. Daisy Asai, 9, Lei’Ohu Chun, 11, Jack Machorek, 13, Lucas McSweeny, 9, and Mercedes Stearns, 10, earned new personal bests in each event they competed in Sunday afternoon. Stearns earned AA times for her 50 yard freestyle (36.47) and 100 yard (1:34.81) individual medley events, as well as A times for her 50 yard butterfly and 100 yard freestyle races.
Head coach Billy Brown challenged his athletes with new events and distances for many swimmers. In a tight race for the 500 yard freestyle, Zoe McGinnis, 13, out touched Sam Britzmann, 14, and Julia Safford, with her time of 6:35.02, followed by their times of 6:35.84 and 6:36.22. Kaylee Russell, 13, and Asha McGinnis also put up impressive times of 6:59.86 and 7:24.37 respectively. The McGinnis sisters each earned a new A time for their effort to go along with Safford’s AA cut.
SKA’s recent state championship team put on a great show in the 200 yard butterfly, their first time racing that event. Zach Safford, 14, touched in 2:23.71 to clinch a state qualifying time, followed by Akira Williams, 12, at 2:28.39, Machorek,13, at 2:29.34, and Jackson Evans, 13. at 2:34.49, all earning new AA cuts for their times. Racing the boys was Kaira Kaaihue, 14, who stopped the clocks at 2:28.69 in the same event. Machorek grabbed another AA cut for his time of 1:06.35 in the 100 yard butterfly.
Williams younger brother Ryden, 10, another standout at the recent state championships in Kona, brought home the day’s only Western Zone cut for his time of 39.58 in the 50 yard breaststroke. He clinched personal bests in his 100 yard butterfly and 100 yard individual medley as well.
Adding to the new AA cuts were Mikayla Holzman, 9, and Kassy McCoy, 10, both who obtained the time cut in the 200 yard freestyle event and squeezed under the 3-minute mark. Holzman chopped 18.37 seconds off of her previous best, and stopped the clock at 2:59.58. McCoy followed suit by slicing 22.71 seconds off of her previous best, coming in at 2:55.97. McCoy earned a new A cut as well for her time of 47.96 in the 50 yard backstroke race.
Pocketing new A cuts were Adan Hendrickson, 10, in the 50 yard breaststroke (54.71), Kiana Kaaihue, 8, in the 100 yard backstroke (1:42.70) and 100 yard breaststroke (1:53.03), Xaveria Rodriguez, 11, in the 200 yard individual medley (3:06.83), and Cheyenne St. John, 13, in the 50 yard freestyle (32.77).
Swimmers with nearly perfect meets were Mao Fukada, 12, Hendrickson, and Issac Vallance, 11. Each swimmer earned new personal bests in 4 out of 5 events and put up fast times on the board.
Adding to the excitement were huge improvements by Colt McCoy, 6, who cut a whopping 17.87 seconds off of his previous best in the 100 yard freestyle (1:58.68), and Olivia McSweeny, 11, who sheared 20.74 seconds off on her 200 yard freestyle, touching the wall in 3:22.24.
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