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Swim Team Bounces Back

The Molokai swam positively into the Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) season last weekend. Six swimmers represented Molokai at the two meets: Lawaia Aalona, Michael Kikukawa, Michael Onofrio, Esther Lopez, Moriah Jenkins and Chelsea Simon.

“All swimmers had either personal best times or [swam their] time at the end of last season,” said coach Jessie Ford. “I felt their performances were exceptional given the challenges of the season.”

Challenges such as not having a pool. The swim team has been training at a private west end pool for the last month, but many practices were intermittent due to academics and Christmas break travel.

Aalona placed fifth in the 50 freestyle at 24.83 – beating his time last year by one second – during Friday night’s meet at Kihei Aquatic Center.

Returning swimmer Simon also dropped time in her 50 free, and competed in the tough 200 IM for the first time.

“I’m expecting her to surprise herself the next time she swims,” Ford said.

First-time swimmers Lopez and Onofrio burst onto their events with jitters that worked for them.

“Both of them surprised me quite a lot with how well they swam,” Ford said.

The second meet on Saturday, held at Kamehameha Maui, was more challenging for all, but “their effort on the second day matched the first,” she added.

“I’m proud of their tenacity, they stuck through a grueling season,” Ford said. Molokai boys came in seventh overall, but the girls did not place.

The swim team will head back to Kihei next weekend with more of their 10-member team, Jan. 21-22.

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