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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pearl City’s Choi has been making waves

by Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Pearl City sophomore Daren Choi, shown at last year’s state swim meet, set OIA West records in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly last week.


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Two more weeks and two more years of records are within reach for Daren Choi.

Ken Suenaga, his swimming coach at Pearl City High School, sees Choi eclipsing more records, having already done so in his young career.

The sophomore broke two records set in the 1980s at Friday's O'ahu Interscholastic Association Western Division championships. Choi set a record of 1 minute, 58.12 seconds in the 200 individual medley, breaking the old record of 2:00.22 set in 1985, and set a record of 52.52 in the 100 butterfly, breaking the previous record of 54.40 set in 1981.

"I'm very happy to help him along," Suenaga said. "The thing is that those records were hard to break all these years, you never had any swimmer that went faster than that."

More records are within reach at this weekend's OIA championships and next week's state championships on the Big Island for Choi, who competes for the Kamehameha Swim Club outside of the high school season. Beyond that, there are endless possibilities and opportunities. Suenaga hopes the sport will help his swimmers further their education. Choi's sister, Shanelle, is a freshman on Boise State's swim team.

"That's my goal, to get the kids to go to college," Suenaga said. "Whether they pursue higher levels of swimming, it'll be up to them."

One of the events Choi will be competing in at the OIA championships is the 50 free, and Suenaga said Choi has done a 21 in the event this season, putting him close to the league mark. He set the record of 52.15 in the 100 backstroke last year as a freshman, along with winning the 100 freestyle.

He went on to win state titles in both of those events.

"He's a real, real good swimmer," Suenaga said. "He works real hard. I've told him the backstroke, I want him to try to look at better times so he can be on the level of the high school All-American teams.

"That's one of my goals for him ... if he can do that this year. He made it last year. I hope he can do it again this year."


Records fell in league championships over the weekend. Mililani's team of Eric Roth, John McGuire, Kramer Ichimura and Dane Kawamoto won the OIA West boys 200 freestyle relay in a record-time of 1:33.52. Kapolei's Madeline Jamora tied the girls record of 24.44 in the 50 free.

At the OIA Eastern Division championships, Brandon Johnson of the Hawai'i School for the Deaf and Blind set a record of 447.95 points in the boys 1-meter dive. Austin Howlett of Seabury Hall set a Maui Interscholastic League record in the 1-meter dive with 434.25 points.

At the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championships, Waiäkea's Frank Chi broke his league record in the 100 breaststroke for the fourth time this season. Chi finished in 58.7 in Friday's trials, then lowered his record to 58.61 in Saturday's finals.

Hawai'i Prep set a record in the boys 200 freestyle relay for the second time this season in 1:29.35 with the team of Kyle Katase, Kaikea Nakachi, Ryan Ross and Logan Borowski. Borowski also set a record of 51.19 in the 100 fly and Kealakehe's Alyssa Foo set a record of 59.84 in the girls 100 backstroke.