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Luna swim teams primed for state championships

By Staff | Feb 11, 2010

The Lady Lunas finished second in the Maui Interscholastic League Swimming and Diving Championships. Photo by Jack Mora.

LAHAINA — Lahainaluna High School swimming continued its upward climb toward the top rungs of Valley Isle superiority with a second place finish in the girls division and a third place finish in the boys race at the Maui Interscholastic League Swimming and Diving Championships held on Jan. 30 at Kihei Aquatic Center.

Over the 15-year tenure of coach Tom Popdan, Lahainaluna swimming has risen to the top levels of the MIL and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) championships behind the goal-driven mentorship of his program.

With the state meet coming up on Feb. 12-13 at Hilo, the Lunas are primed once again to take their places on the state championship podium.

At the MIL meet at Kihei, the Lady Lunas broke through for five gold medals, three silvers and two bronze placements.

Overall, the girls team totaled 67 points behind first place Baldwin with 82, while the boys team moved up to their best finish in years with a third place trophy with 23 points. The Luna boys captured one silver and two bronze medals at Kihei.

Coach Tom Popdan said the boys team improved throughout the season. Photo by Kelly Kohls.

“These boys really improved as a team, and the future of the team looks really good with the year-round swimmers from the Lahaina Swim Club moving up to the high school team,” explained Coach Tom last week at Lahaina Aquatic Center.

“The girls team will also be stronger in depth next year,” Popdan continued. “The loss of Kaili (senior captain Kaili Faust) will be big, but we’re looking for that same depth in the future as with the boys. For this year, the emphasis has been on the state meet. Our focus is there for all the girls going to have the mentality that they will swim both days, and to know what it’s like to be on the podium at the end.”

The Lady Lunas’ point scorers at the MIL meet include seniors Faust, Zeena McIntyre and Kayla Wall; and juniors Kristen Fuller, Koral Gill, Kamaehu Alboro, Dezi Acker, Jessye Acker and Jesselee Chapman.

For the boys, senior captain Jordan Petersen led the way, along with juniors David Jackson, Reed Lisk and Shane Ledbetter; sophomores Joshua Gaastra (captain), Elliot Smith, Josh Scott and Micah Franz; and freshman Tyler Armijo.

Will Hutchison is the assistant coach.

As always, Popdan had high praise for the lifeguard crew at the Lahaina pool.

“They always do a topnotch job of keeping the facility in order — the lifeguards really do a great job,” he said.

“Our thanks goes out to all the parents who support the team, and most especially to Candace Faust, who has been our primary helper in taking care of the paperwork and fund-raising for the team. She’s done a wonderful job.”