Tyler Tanaka still has about a week left to enjoy being 12 years old.
He was named Mokihana Aquatics Swimmer of the Meet following the 43rd annual Coach Soichi Sakamoto Invitational swim meet that wrapped up over the long holiday weekend at the Coach Soichi Sakamoto Pool on Maui.
“Looking for a role model?” said Mokihana Aquatics coach Orlando “O” Anaya. “Be like Tyler. He is swimming off the hook. He is in a world of his own.”
Tanaka was one of four Mokihana Aquatics swimmers who qualified for, and participated in, the Maui meet, being joined by Alfred Auger, 10, Leigh Idica, 11, and Ian Raquel, 11.
Swimmer of the Meet Tanaka finished the Maui meet by swimming 10 events, picking up one first place in the 400-yard freestyle, where he touched the wall in 5 minutes, 26.83 seconds for a HI-AAA time (for 11-12 age group) and sliced 23.98 seconds off his seeded time.
He posted eight new personal best times and one HI-AAAA time (200 breaststroke, in 3:12.92).
Auger was swimming his first invitational swim meet, and improved in six of 10 events with two new HI-AAA state qualifying swims. The 10-year-old finished third in both the 100 freestyle (1:24.87) and the 200 individual medley (3:32.52) for his HI-AAA swims.
“Alfred Auger was crazy nuts,” Anaya said. “What makes this nuts is that this was his first invitational swim meet, swimming with some of the best in the state. And, it was a long course meet, something he had never swum before. He was awesome.”
An elderly woman stopping to talk with the Mokihana group including swimmers and parents, about how she helped start the first age-group swimming program on Kauai at the Kapaa Swimming Pool.
Idica finished the meet with two new personal-best swims, her strongest coming in the 400 freestyle (5:57.79), where she improved by 4.23 seconds for a HI-AA time.
“How about Leigh bringing her two ‘splashes’ to HI-AA times?” Anaya said. “Her smiles go from ear to ear, and she can’t stop talking in excitement. I love it.”
Raquel’s strongest showing came in the 100 backstroke (1:32.92), where he trimmed 11.53 seconds off his seeded swim for a HI-AA time cut.
“Ian rounded out our great swims,” Anaya said. “Ian goes three whole seconds faster in his 50 backstroke (44.18). In a 50, we might improve by 0.3, and that is awesome. But Ian improves by three whole seconds — quite outstanding.”
“Our foursome of swimmers did Kauai proud,” Anaya said. “Of course, our families were as amazing as their swimmers were. Simply put, it was better than great. Remember, we are swimming tired. We are swimming hurt and fatigued — and, we still have ‘hell week’ ahead of us.”