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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 21, 2001

Kaiser, Punahou athletes first in Kailua-Popoi'a swim race

By Mike Tymn
Special to The Advertiser

As Tatsuya Kobayashi and Douglas Janes approached the last buoy, about 50 yards from the finish, in the Kailua-Popoi'a 1.75-mile swim yesterday morning, observers on the beach wondered if both were in the race.

Kobayashi was approaching the buoy as if he were coming in from Alaska, while Janes was coming more from San Diego. Kobayashi crossed in front of Janes behind the buoy and continued straight to the beach, getting to his feet about 40 yards down the beach from the finish line. The 15-year-old Kaiser High student then ran to the finish, winning his first ocean swim in 30 minutes, 39.8 seconds, 11 seconds ahead of the 36-year-old Janes, who surfaced in front of the finish line on the beach.

"I lost the course," said Kobayashi, who was fourth last year.

"I thought he was so far ahead that I couldn't see him," said Janes. "I was surprised when he passed in front of me at the buoy."

Finishing third overall, and the first female, was Kristin Simunovich, a 17-year-old Punahou junior. While there was some confusion as to her official time, she was credited with a 31:50.8.

"I just finished the water polo season and wasn't sure I'd be able to finish this," said Simunovich. "I was worried that my sister was going to beat me."

Dawn Simunovich, 12, finished 22nd overall in 36:36, winning the 14-and-under division. The second woman was Susan McDowell (33:49), while Samantha Moran (33:50) took third.

With 98 swimmers, the event got under way at 9 a.m. at Kailua Beach, and took the swimmers around Flat Island (Popoi'a). After circling the island, Kobayashi continued straight instead of angling left toward the beach as did Janes and those that followed. When he realized where he was, Kobayashi had to make a hard left turn to head for the finish.

Diane Stowell, 67, finished 24th overall in 37:12.