Tanaka tops at Sakamoto qualifier

LIHUE — Tyler Tanaka, 12, picked up his eighth Swimmer of the Meet award, Mokihana Aquatics coach Orlando “O” Anaya announced Sunday.

“Our Mokihana Aquatics Swimmer of the Meet was easy this time around,” Anaya said. “How could it be anyone besides Tyler Tanaka, who had 10 swims with 10 best times. That brings him to 20 swims and 20 best times in less than a 10-day period after he was perfect at the Harry Mamizuka Invitational swim meet at the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center on Oahu last month. He also picked up seven new state-qualifying times, some of those time standards would have him in a championship final for the 11-12 boys. But alas, Tyler will age up before the next state championship.”

During the qualifying meet for the Sakamoto meet that ended Saturday afternoon, Tanaka finished with eight HI-AAA times led by his performance in the 100 butterfly where he touched at 1 minute, 11.83 seconds for a 6.40-second improvement over his seeded swim.

Mokihana swimmer Leigh Idica, 11, joined Tanaka as co-Swimmer of the Meet at the Mamizuka meet on Oahu, going perfect in the three swims for which she qualified.

“You should have seen Leigh (at the Mamizuka),” Anaya said. “It was priceless. Her rush (it’s the endorphins) was in the stratosphere.”

During the Sakamoto qualifier, Idica posted five improvements in 10 swims, her best showing coming in the 100 butterfly (1:19.04) where she trimmed 1.20 seconds off her seeded swim and finished with a HI-AA time standard.

Tanaka finished the two days of swimming by qualifying for 10 swims at the 43rd annual Coach Soichi Sakamoto Invitational meet which will be held May 17 on Maui.

He will be joined by two other boys, Ian Raquel, 10, who qualified for five swims, and Alfred Auger, 10, who finished the weekend by qualifying for 10 swims.

Idica qualified for four swims at the Sakamoto meet and will be joined by Madeline Hoesel, 15, the reigning backstroke champion for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation as a freshman at Kapaa High School, who qualified for 10 swims.

Madeline’s strongest swim in the qualifying meet came in the 200 butterfly where she touched at 2:45.31, an 11.71 improvement over her seeded swim.

Auger’s best event over the weekend also came in the 200 freestyle (2:46.99) where he trimmed 2.48 off his seeded time. Raquel picked up five new best times, his strongest swim coming in the 100 butterfly (1:30.63) where he posted a 2.64 improvement.

Other notable swims saw Rhett Leonard, 8, pick up eight new best times in 10 swims, led by a 3.65 improvement in the 25 butterfly (21.18) and a 3.49 improvement in the 200 freestyle (3:21.51).

Anaya said somebody forgot to tell Isabella Sorenson that Friday was Boys Day as the little 8-year-old pocketed six new best times, her strongest showing coming in the 200 freestyle (3:22.12) where she cut 16.03 off her seeded swim.

Kaeleb Santiago, 8, picked up five new best times, his best swim coming in the 100 freestyle (1:37.40) for a 5.45 improvement, and Katy Hoesel, 12, picked up six new best times with her strongest showing coming in the 100 freestyle (1:17.99) for a 5.47 improvement.

Sara Funtanilla, 15, was limited to five swims, but picked up two new times, her best showing coming in the 200 butterfly (2:56.92) for a 2.47 improvement.

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