Lahainaluna swimmers to compete at state meet this week
LAHAINA – With a strong surge from an upstart, young boys roster and a steady performance from their experienced girls contingent, the Lahainaluna High School swim team prepped for the state meet with top finishes at the Maui Interscholastic League Championships two weeks ago at the Kihei Aquatic Center.
The K. Mark Takai State Championship meet will be held at the same venue Feb. 9-10.
The Lady Lunas scored 23 points for fifth place and the boys tallied 37 points to take the silver medal in the team standings. All of the points scored by the Lahainaluna boys came from the efforts of three freshmen and a sophomore.
Jaden Yip led the charge with a gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley, a silver in the 100 breaststroke and a leg on the first place 200 medley relay team.
He was joined by Kendall Beam, who was a finalist and state qualifier in the 50 and 100 freestyle events; Jordan Beam, a 100 free and 100 backstroke MIL finalist and state qualifier; and Koa Arnold on the first place relay team.
“These are a group of young swimmers – three freshmen and a sophomore – who combined to win the most exciting race of the day (the 200 medley relay) for the Lunas,” said longtime Lahainaluna and Lahaina Swim Club coach Tom Popdan, who was assisted by Jennifer Wiseman in both programs. “Those four boys scored all of the team’s points.”
Rounding out the roster were Jake Compton, Christian Chesson and Kai Thompson.
Senior stalwart Lexi Anderson shined brightly once again for the Lady Lunas with a school record and MIL gold medal in the 100 butterfly event to qualify for the state meet.
She was joined in the team effort by Hailey Bogar, who qualified in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke events, and Isabella Omura, who qualified for states in the 100 backstroke event.
The Lady Luna team also included Maddie Brath, Kylie Cherry, Lara Claydon, Kyra Franz, Mahina Mirkovich, Kaylin Olivera, Eva Olson, Angelina Rakstraw, Rebecca Segura, Nicole Slusser, Isabella Theobald, Nikki Zamani and Faith Bell.
“We are extremely thankful to all of the parents who have helped us throughout the year – they are a very strong support group. Overall, the entire program is a dedicated and close group, and the student-athletes are extremely coachable. They listen to new ideas and are able to implement those new ideas. They are a very hardworking group and one of the more dedicated teams we’ve had from day one,” added Coach Tom.