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Junior lifeguards place third at state competition

By Staff | Sep 12, 2019

WEST MAUI – With a strong contingent of West Side aqua athletes in its lineup, the Maui entry into the 2019 Junior Lifeguard State Competition placed third behind Oahu and Kauai at the event held at Makaha State Beach Park on Oahu’s leeward coast on July 26.

Yuna Lee, Hailey Bogar, Pierce Armstrong, Mathew Iverson, Maison Alexander, Noah Caiserman, Kai Casco and Ryli Cherry all contributed to the Maui team’s scoring total that brought home a bronze medal.

The Lahaina group completed its third year of Junior Lifeguard training this summer, and each course culminates with the state competition at various sites across the islands that features the top teenage beach and ocean athletes in Hawaii.

Ten-year lifeguard veteran Ryan Cabrera heads up the Lahaina Junior Lifeguard Program, with Kaipo Chong and Tony Coletta leading the north and south units, respectively.

Kekai Brown is the Department of Fire and Public Safety ocean safety training captain who organizes the Maui County team that includes Lanai and Molokai.

Most of these student-athletes train with Lahainaluna High School swimming coach Tom Popdan as well.

Alexander led the Valley Isle charge with a first place finish in the run-swim-run event, a second in the Iron guard run-swim-paddle and a fifth in the 200-meter swim.

Lee took sixth in the run-swim-run, Bogar was third in the run-swim-run and fifth in the Iron guard. Iverson was first in the Iron guard, third in the 200-meter swim and third in the run-swim-run, Armstrong won a gold medal in the 1,000-meter run competition, and Caiserman was second in the Iron guard event.

Following the event, Brown noted, “I am so very proud of each and every one of our keiki that represented Maui this year. Every year, we get better and better, and place at least once in every event or even multiple times in one event. Our kids are strong, determined, humble and full of heart. I also would like to give a shout out to my Junior Lifeguard instructors – including Lanai and Molokai – and thank them all for all they do for our keiki and community, and especially for having a lot of patience and big voice boxes (LOL)!”

Added Sacred Hearts School seventh-grader and gold medal winner Pierce Armstrong, “To Ryan, Kaipo, Tony and Kekai, you all have been so helpful to all of us. We really appreciate how you all organized our effort, and we really appreciate the opportunity to do it. Thank you, Hawaii Lifeguard Association, for putting on such a great event.”

The Maui Junior Lifeguard Program takes a limited number of teenage boys and girls into an ocean safety and beach training and conditioning program each summer in five week-long sessions.

Call (808) 270-6140 for more information on the next sessions in summer 2020.