Jack Machorek, 15, and Zachary Safford, 16, recently returned from competing at the 2016 Speedo Sectionals Championship Series swim meet in Federal Way, Washington. The boys, who are teammates on Swim Kauai Aquatics as well as for Kauai High School, traveled to the four-day championship meet with their head coach Curt Colby to race with the top swimmers in the USA Swimming Western Zone.
The highly competitive meet is an open age group format where swimmers compete by time and not age of swimmer. With 2016 being an Olympic year, the meet was held as a long course, 50-meter Olympic format and saw many swimmers racing for Olympic Trial cuts for this summer. The long course format is more challenging for Kauai swimmers who do not have an opportunity to train in that race format throughout the year, as they train in their club’s 25-yard pool at the YMCA of Kauai.
This was the first time that any boys from Kauai have attended this caliber of swim meet, and both boys posted personal best times in their events.
“This is a very tough meet to qualify for, and Jack and Zach rose to the occasion and represented Swim Kauai Aquatics and the island of Kauai to the best of their abilities. I’m a very proud coach,” Colby said.
Machorek’s best race was his 400-meter freestyle, where he qualified for finals, and posted a time of 4:18.79 — placing him in 27th place overall out of 92 swimmers in that event. He achieved best times in his 200-meter freestyle (2:02.58), 400-meter individual medley (4:58.17), 100-meter butterfly (1:02.12), 200-meter individual medley (2:18.41) and 800-meter freestyle (9:07.30).
Safford found his greatest success in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1:01.32. He put up best times in the 200-meter individual medley (2:21.83) and 400-meter individual medley (5:00.32).
Both boys have family in the Washington area that were able to come out and cheer for the Kauai swimmers.
The Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay helped to make this swim meet a possibility for the boys with their donation to SKA to assist with travel costs for off-island meets and give the Kauai kids a chance to compete at a greater level. Colby, who is a member of the Hanalei Rotary, approached the club with the idea of financial support for the young Kauai athletes.