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Lahaina Swim Club athletes achieve 42 top eight finishes at state meet

By Staff | Jul 28, 2016

Lahaina Swim Club members attend their team dinner.

LAHAINA – As has historically been the case, Lahaina Swim Club continues to sow success by nurturing its youth group into the building blocks of continuing championship-level performances. Such was the case again as the LSC youngsters ages 10-13 totaled 237 points to place seventh overall at the 2016 State Long Course Age Group Championships held recently at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Waipahu, Oahu.

The perennial top-level efforts by LSC – versus the behemoth clubs at the state level that traditionally outnumber the West Side qualifiers by three-to-one odds – continued at this year’s long course event.

The Lahaina “aquakids” showed they are made of the right stuff to once again rise to the top at the state meet, as they totaled 42 top eight finishes at the elite event on Oahu.

The sterling team effort was led by 17-year-old “veteran” Jared Gaastra, who placed in six events, including first place finishes in the 800-meter freestyle and 200 backstroke events; ten-year-olds L.T. Stancil and Danna Hernandez Herrera, who won gold medals in the 50 and 100 breaststroke events; and 13-year-old Lexi Anderson, who achieved championship efforts in the 100 and 200 butterfly races. Stancil will advance to the Western Zones meet on Aug. 8-14 in Utah.

Adding valuable points for LSC were Carter Bozich in the age ten division; Maxx Cherry, Yuna Lee and Mathew Iverson in the age 11 category; Noelle Sheveland and Angelina Rakestraw (age 12); Jaden Yip, Slater Fleck and Paloma Banto (age 13); Olivia Bozich and Hailey Bogar (age 14); and Joshua Schwartzlow (age 18).

For the fourth straight year, interim LSC coach Kirsten Byers, who takes over for longtime head man Tom Popdan during the summer months as he returns to his lifeguard job in New Jersey, guided the organization to the strong showing at the state competition.

“We are so extremely proud of all of our swimmers. Overall, nearly everybody had their best swim times of the year, and everybody contributed to our showing as a team at this top state event,” said Coach Kirsten, a former collegiate swimmer at UCLA and currently a school teacher and coach in Tacoma, Washington.

She was assisted this summer by visiting mentor Keri Hehn.

“We had a wonderful stay on Oahu, and our thanks goes out to Gina Iverson, who organized all of the logistics for the trip,” Byers said. “Being an Olympic year, we are all excited about the competitions going on as we set goals for ourselves and cheered on Renny Richmond (a competitor for the University of Arizona) at recent NCAA and Olympic qualifying events.

“Thank you to the lifeguard staff at the Lahaina Aquatic Center for excellent care of the pool and the facility, and to the community and the parents of the swimmers for their continued support of the club,” she concluded.