Choi, Johnson break OIA swim marks
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
There were three meet records broken in yesterday's O'ahu Interscholastic Association Swimming & Diving Championships at Central O'ahu Regional Park.
The two records broken by Pearl City sophomore Daren Choi in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle lasted less than 24 hours.
The one broken by Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind sophomore Brandon Johnson in the one-meter diving event lasted 25 years.
In the team standings, the Kaiser girls ended Mililani's three-year title reign, and the Mililani boys won their fourth consecutive title.
Choi swam the 50-yard freestyle in 21.66 and the 100 freestyle in 47.05 yesterday to break his own records (21.74 and 47.17) set a day earlier in the trials.
"I'm very excited for states that are coming up," Choi said. "These are like my best times, so I'm very proud of that."
Choi has shown his all-around swimming skills over the past week. Last week he set OIA West meet records in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
"He's unreal," said Pearl City coach Ken Suenaga. "He's a great swimmer. He's a great individual medley swimmer and also a sprinter. He likes the short ones."
HCDB's Johnson scored 447.90 points in the one-meter. The previous record was 413.10 set by Kaipo Fajardo in 1985.
Johnson was the only HCDB athlete in the championships. His victory gave HCDB 16 points in the team standings.
"I feel real proud. I'm very happy and satisfied. I worked really hard to get the success I got," Johnson said through his coach, Jeff Stabile.
Stabile, a former UCLA diver, is a science teacher at HCDB and has coached Johnson off-and-on the past five years.
"The dives I do aren't really hard for me because I've gotten used to them," Johnson said. "I did the basics first and did the build-ups to get to these harder dives."
Stabile said Johnson has really come into his own recently.
"This year he's blossomed," Stabile said. "He's worked really hard, he's been really consistent with his work. He's probably going to be an All-American this year."
Stabile added he wanted to teach Johnson "world championship level dives" for next season.
Kaiser won the girls title with 282 points, three-time defending league champion Mililani was second with 218 and Leilehua was third with 168.
It was Kaiser's first girls team title since 2003.
"I'm very happy for them," said 14-year Kaiser coach Sean Barrett. "They did a great job today. Most were swimming their best times today."
The Kaiser girls scored 90 points on the three relays. They won the 200 medley and 200 freestyle for 64 combined points, and were runners-up in the 400 freestyle for 26.
The Cougars girls won only one individual event: Hunter Long in the one-meter diving event (311.00 points).
Kaiser also had two runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes.
"Our depth is excellent," Barrett said. "This is one of our deepest teams in many years."
Girls who won two individual events were: Leilehua's Ashley Tuten (200 free in 2:01.65 and 500 free in 5:27.07); and Kapolei's Madeline Jamora (50 free in 24.20 and 100 backstroke in 1:00.77).
Tuten, a freshman, said her goal is to compete in the 2016 Olympics in the 500 freestyle.
"It's cool to win as a freshman," she said. "You are the youngest and usually have to work your way to the top."
The Mililani boys won their fourth consecutive team title with 230 points, Kaiser was second with 191 and Kalani third with 171.
The Mililani boys scored 90 points on the three relays. They won the 200 medley and 400 freestyle, and were runners-up in the 200 freestyle.
"We have a lot of kids that swim age-groups (during the offseason)," said Mililani coach Wesley Endo. "But during the season, they are committed to high schools."
Dane Kawamoto was Mililani's only individual champion. He won the 200 individual medley in 2:02.84 and 100 butterfly in 53.99.
"States is a week away and I'm dropping my times, so it's good fun," Kawamoto said.
The Trojans also had two runner-up finishes and one third.
The other boy who won two individual events was: Kapolei's Jayson Hagi (200 freestyle in 1:45.58 and 500 freestyle in 4:45.31).
"I'd like to thank mom, dad, coach Dexter (Lee) for helping me get through everything," Hagi said. "I dedicate my swims to them."
He added: "I'm strictly freestyle. That's the only thing I can do."
The HHSAA/Local Motion Swimming & Diving Championships will be Feb. 12 and 13 at Kamehameha Schools-Hawai'i on the Big Island.