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Five Farmers Swim in State Preliminaries

Despite not qualifying for the final round of the state championships, Molokai swimmers recorded their best relay times of the season in the state preliminaries, said Head Coach Jess Ford. Two weeks after medal-winning performances in the MIL championships, five Molokai swimmers competed in two team events at states last week Friday.

Sophomore Kahale Ramos, junior Keao Ross and seniors Luke Kikukawa and Michaiah Soares swam as a team in the 200-yard medley relay and came in 18th with a time of one minute and 54.64 seconds. Ross, Kikukawa, Soares and senior Tanner Mosher raced in the team 200-yard freestyle relay and came in 17th at 1:39.99.

“Several state records were broken at this meet. It was very fast,” said Ford. “Molokai swam well, with good composure. They held together a collective of small changes we have been working on.”

In the finals on Saturday, Oahu’s Punahou School won both the boys’ and girls’ overall team titles in a meet where five state records were broken despite rainy weather.

With the season over, Farmer swimmers said their biggest accomplishment is who they’ve become as a team.

“What I’ve been most proud of is the bond our team has and how we always support each other to try our best,” said Mosher.

Ford said she was pleased that the boys qualified for the same state events as last year. The girls, she explained, were also seconds away from state qualifying times in team relay events. For Ford, the teams’ feats this season are even more impressive given the fact that Molokai doesn’t race year-round as most schools do.

“It’s just so remarkable what they can do in three months,” she said, explaining that the swimmers have made progress in both speed and aggressiveness.

Ford, however, hopes to change Molokai’s limited training schedule to give the Farmers a more competitive edge. She wants to have her swimmers racing during the summer in 50-meter pools on Maui, since Molokai doesn’t have any. This will help prepare them for the winter season when they compete in 25-meter pools.

“Mentally that’ll help a lot as far as not being intimidated by distance,” she said. “It’ll seem so much shorter and faster. They’ll be stronger.”

She added that she also hopes to have them start weight training.

“I think racing and even doing a little bit of training during the summer will help new swimmers to be relaxed when the season comes around as well as to improve times and confidence in their strokes and races,” said Soares.

Ford called Soares, Mosher and Kikukawa “some of our powerhouse boys,” and said she needs to start recruiting for a boys’ team that will lose half its squad to graduation. Several girls’ swimmers will be returning next year, putting them in good shape to be competitive, said Ford.

She added that she saw promise in the number of events her swimmers qualified for in the final rounds of the MILs and is excited to see how the teams’ diverse talents will develop in the future.

“We had more spread, more finals representation,” said Ford of the MILs. “If we have diversity in our strengths, we’ll be able to start earning points for the team. … The versatility is really exciting to me.”

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