LIHUE — The plane was late Friday afternoon, and cold wind brought the threat of rain to the Kauai High School pool where Mokihana Aquatics was hosting its Age Group with Distance timed trials.
But Amanda Wong, mother of Evan Wong, 10, of the Iolani Swim Club on Oahu, got her swimmer there anyway.
“We had to catch a taxi here, but we made it,” she said. “Do you know of a good place to eat following this meet? Evan is going to be hungry so we can have something to eat before catching the flight back to Oahu later tonight.”
Evan arrived for the whirlwind visit with a goal — to try to secure a qualifying time for the Northwest Age Group Regional Championship meet in Seattle for the 500 yard freestyle.
“He makes 11 years old in four weeks,” Amanda said. “He needs at least a 6.03-second swim to qualify. Nobody else in the state offers the distance qualifying so he came to Kauai for the attempt.”
Currently, Evan is ranked No. 1 for both Iolani and the state in both the 100 yard backstroke (1:06.41) and the 100 meter backstroke (1:18.66) by Swimmingrank.com. Those performances have him ranked No. 6 in the Western Region for the 100 yard backstroke, and No. 18 in the United States. He holds the ranking of No. 4 in the Western Region for the 100 meter backstroke and is ranked No. 14 in the United States.
“I know I can do it,” Evan said following the warm-up swim. “I’ve done it with the Iolani Swim Club during practice, but have never done it during a timed trials. I can even keep track of my laps in my head.”
Evan hit the water, alternating his breathing strokes, and set the pace with a strong start before stopping the clocks at 5:59.00, well ahead of his 6.03 goal. Mokihana Aquatics swimmer Kamaira Silva, 12, was the runner-up swimmer in the event, touching at 6:05.73 followed by Tyler Tanaka, 12, stopping the clock at 6:16.36.
“I did it,” Evan said after pulling himself out of the water and checking with the trio of timers for his unofficial swim time. “Now, I’m off to Maui this weekend where I want the records for the 50 backstroke and the 50 freestyle.”
Amanda said at first, Evan didn’t even want to swim.
“He’s 10 now,” she said. “He goes to Waikiki Elementary School, but Iolani consented to allow him to swim for the Iolani Swim Club. We signed him up for swimming because his sister liked to swim. He didn’t like it at first. But he ended up liking the sport.”