The Bill Smith qualifying meet launched the 35th year of Mokihana Aquatics swim club over the weekend at the Kauai High School pool.
“While we officially celebrate our 35th birthday next month, we officially kicked off our 35th season this weekend,” said Mokihana Aquatics coach Orlando “O” Anaya. “Our predecessor, the Kapaa Swim Club, started practice on Nov. 1, 1981.”
Anaya said Swimmer of the Meet honors came down to two swimmers — Tyler Tanaka and Leigh Idica — because the 8 and Under swimmers are not eligible for any club awards.
“Tyler and Leigh really show toughness — swimming fast and with lots of class and humility,” Anaya said. “It was a hard choice, but the scale tipped in Leigh’s favor. She has been on a roll, winning four of our last five Swimmer of the Meet awards. While she did great, I know she is disappointed with her performance. That is what put her over the top. Leigh ages up to the 11-12 age group this week, and she wanted to make an 11-12 HI-AA time standard. She came up short, but she set some high goals and challenged herself like no other. Congratulations, Leigh, and no worries — you will make your cuts soon enough.”
Idica, 10, rapidly approaching the 11-12 age group, finished the meet with five personal best times over 10 events. She finished first in all events, and walked off the pool with five HI-AAA time standards and five HI-AA times, her best swim coming in the 200 Individual Medley (2:55.05) where she finished with a HI-AAA cut while trimming 4.68 seconds off her seeded time.
Tanaka, 12, finished in first place in all 10 of his events, copping six personal bests and finishing with HI-AA times in all 10 events. His best showing came in the 100 backstroke (1:19.47) where he bettered his previous swim by 1.49 seconds.
Samantha Stokes, 13, was unable to finish the final day of competition, but posted four personal bests over six events, her best showing coming in the 200 breaststroke (3:19.82) where she was 11.84 seconds better than her seeded swim.
Isabella Sorenson, 7, posted new times for her 50 freestyle (48.49) and the 100 IM (2:10.97) and bested her 100 freestyle (1:39.84) by 4.82 seconds, while Lincoln Sorenson, 7, posted a new time for the 50 freestyle (1:11.80) and took 2.16 seconds off her 100 freestyle (2:24.33).
Kamaira Silva, 11, finished the meet with a pair of HI-AA times over 10 events, her best swim coming in the 50 freestyle (28.56) where she was 0.18 second better than her seeded swim.
Kaeleb Santiago, 7, posted seven personal bests, his strongest swim coming in the 200 freestyle (4:21.07) where he chopped 14.36 off his seeded swim. Kaedyn Santiago, 9, finished with four personal bests with a strong showing in the 200 IM (3:53.96) for a 7.43-second improvement.
Ian Raquel, 11, posted two personal bests over three events, and Rhett Leonard, 8, was 10.05 seconds better than his seeded swim in the 50 backstroke (1:06.27) where he finished in second place.
Kaikili La‘a-Moranz-Asuncion, 8, had a personal best in the 50 freestyle, and Madeline Hoesel, in addition to sharing team leader duties with Sara Funtanilla, copped a pair of HI-AA time standards.
Katharine Hoesel, 12, finished with seven personal bests, her strongest swim being the 200 IM (3:23.16) where she gained 5.95 seconds over he seeded time, and Funtanilla, 14, pocketed three personal bests, her strongest swim coming in the 50 freestyle (29.86) where she bettered her seed time by 1.91 seconds for a HI-A time cut.
Madhav Collins-Doijode, 12, finished with seven personal bests, his strongest swim coming in the 200 freestyle (3:47.53) where he picked up 24.84 seconds.
Alfred Auger, 9, made his best showing in the 200 IM (3:30.45) where he picked up one of his three personal bests for a HI-AA time.
Silas Adams, 8, also picked up seven personal bests, his strongest showing coming in the 100 IM (2:14.28) for a 34.94 gain. Moses Adams, 7, finished with five personal bests, his strongest swim being the 50 backstroke (1:17.23) for an 8.60 gain, and Elijah Adams, 10, was 4.83 better than his seeded swim in the 50 butterfly (52.27).
The swimmers were vying for qualifying slots to the 17th Annual Bill Smith Invitational which will contest on Oct. 29 and 30 at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center at the Central Oahu Regional Park.