10 years and counting

Rain poured early Saturday morning on Kauai’s North Shore, threatening to damper the atmosphere during the annual swim competition.

Right before the day’s first race started, when the pule was just about pau, the rain let up and a rainbow decorated the skies above Hanalei Bay.

“We were worried. We missed the bullet with the hurricane last weekend. We had beautiful weather all week, and then we had showers this morning,” said event coordinator Jim Costello. “As soon as the pule was held, the skies cleared. We’ve had a wonderful day since.”

More than 200 swimmers young and old from all over North America, including several from Kauai, competed in the 10th annual Hanalei Bay Swim Challenge.

“It was spectacular. It’s another wonderful, sunshiny day,” Costello said. “It’s just been a great family event. Lots of fun today.”

Swimmers competed in five divisions — 3,000 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,000 meters with snorkels and fins, keiki ages 1-8, and keiki ages 9-12.

“It went better than expected,” said Joel Punzal of Lihue, who participated in the 1,000-meter race and placed fourth in the 40-49 division with a time of 25 minutes and 34 seconds.

“It was a little bit difficult at first. Just started out slow, and then just finished out strong,” Punzal said. “It’s a very positive event.”

Also among Kauai’s swimmers was 13-year-old Malia Splittstoesser — who competed in the 3,000-meter swim for the first time and finished ninth overall.

“It was pretty good — long,” Splittstoesser said shortly after crossing the finish line. “It was OK.”

Frank Bird, of San Pedro, Calif., was the overall winner of the 3,000-meter swim, recording a time of 40 minutes and 15 seconds.

“It’s a beautiful place to swim,” Bird said. “Performance is good. I’m happy. It was a little rough coming back after the turnaround — it was quick going down and rough coming back.”

He added: “Just happy to support the fundraiser for the (NaMolokama) Canoe Club. It’s a beautiful place here. My parents got a place here. It’s good to come. I’ve been trying to do this for years, and I’m really happy I could come this year.”

Lihue’s Kamaira Silva finished first in the girls ages 9-12 division race. She also competed in the 1,000-meter race and finished 18th overall with a time of 17 minutes and 43 seconds.

“That one was kind of hard,” Silva said of the 1,000-meter race. “It feels great.”

Costello hopes next year’s Swim Challenge will be better than ever.

“We’re planning to do the same thing. We made a few changes this year, adding a silent auction. That was brand new this year. And we added a snorkel and fin category,” he said. “We had a few growing pains with that, but we’ll learn from this event and we’ll have a better one next year.”

Costello added: “Dick and Barbara Smith are the founders of this event. They’ve just done a fantastic job over the last 10 years. We’re really grateful to have them around helping us out. Every year, it just seems to get better. It was really a great event this year.”

Top finishers

3,000 meters

1. Frank Bird (San Pedro, CA), 50-59 division, 0:40:15

2. Brent Bessire (Santa Rosa, CA), 40-49 division, 0:40:47

3. Nicholas Classen (Costa Mesa, CA), 1-19 division, 0:41:03

4. Mercedes Sterns (Lihue, HI), 1-19 division, 0:41:10

5. Alexandre Jalleau (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 40-49 division, 0:42:52

6. Kai Norman (Koloa, HI), 1-19 division, 0:42:55

7. Evan Simpson (Newport Beach, CA), 1-19 division, 0:42:57

8. Julie Shikiya-Pascucci (Toluca Lake, CA), 40-49 division, 0:43:10

9. Malia Splittstoesser (Lihue, HI), 1-19 division, 0:44:16

10. Niel Fischer (Chico, CA), 50-59 division, 0:45:11

1,000 meters

1. Tobin Hickman-Chow (Spring, TX), 16-19 division, 0:13:19

2. Jack Machorek (Kalaheo, HI), 1-15 division, 0:13:31

3. Zachary Safford (Lihue, HI), 16-19 division, 0:14:05

4. Thomas Classen (Costa Mesa, CA), 1-15 division, 0:15:24

5. Kaira Kaaihue (Lawai, HI), 16-19 division, 0:15:36

6. Luan Becerra (Princeville, HI), 16-19 division, 0:15:48

7. Tony Bardin (Pacific Palisades, CA), 40-49 division, 0:16:18

8. Taliah Black (Oak Harbor, WA), 16-19 division, 0:16:22

9. Thomas Potter (Princeville, HI), 50-59 division, 0:16:29

10. Avi Laird (Honolulu, HI), 16-19 division, 0:16:30

1,000 meters with snorkel and fins

1. Mary Ellen Bangs (Santa Barbara, CA), 0:24:42

2. Ryan Cook (Rock Springs, WY), 0:27:01

3. Mary Turley (Santa Barbara, CA), 0:27:06

4. N/A (Bib #851), 0:27:18

5. Michelle Cook (Rock Springs, WY), 0:27:36

6. Jane Delaney (Hanalei, HI), 0:28:36

7. Megan Cook (Rock Springs, WY), 0:28:40

8. Christina Harrelson (Sheridan, WY), 0:29:44

9. Cheryl Harrelson (Sheridan, WY), 0:29:47

10. Carrie Kidder (Kapaa, HI), 0:30:03

Keiki 1-8

1. Gavin Boggs (Aspen, CO), 0:03:27

2. Sierra Balch (San Rafael, CA), 0:04:15

3. Hudson Parks (Newport Beach, CA), 0:04:27

4. Lekili Mendonca (Hanalei, HI), 0:05:02

5. Liloa Mendonca (Hanalei, HI), 0:05:04

6. Silas Adams (Lihue, HI), 0;05:06

7. Ashlyn Worley (Kilauea, HI), 0:05:38

8. Finn Bessire (Santa Rosa, CA), 0:05:41

9. Michaela Meuldijk (Hanalei, HI), 0:05:48

10. Starlyn Krovoza (Kilauea, HI), 0:05:56

Keiki 9-12

1. Kai Norman (Koloa, HI), 0:02:57

2. Trevyn Nishimura (Lihue, HI), 0:03:11

3. Kamaira Silva (Lihue, HI), 0:03:12

4. Sarah Burrell (Aptos, CA), 0:03:13

5. Maximus Jonah (Princeville, HI), 0:03:19

6. Grace McConnell (La Canada, CA), 0:03:25

7. Noah Denbeau (Kapaa, HI), 0:03:29

8. Elise Nagel (Princeville, HI), 0:03:37

9. Katy Hoesel (Kapaa, HI), 0:03:40

10. Emma Osborne (Kapaa, HI), 0:03:48

Complete results at jtltiming.com


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