On July 7, the Kona Aquatics swim team held its annual King’s Swim at Kailua Pier. More than 200 swimmers showed up to participate in the traditional swim.
The race course was the same as it has been for 18-years — enter the water on the left side of the pier, swim out to the “King’s” buoy located at the 1.2-mile turnaround and swim back, exiting the water at Kamakahonu Bay in front of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.
With all the swimmers excited to race and water patrol ready to lead them on the right path, the race began just before 8 a.m., and with hands flying and feet kicking, the racers were off.
The dolphins wanted a part in the swim too. An excited pod of spinner dolphins joined the swimmers through the water, jumping and enjoying the race.
The first swimmers were expected back in around 20 minutes, so the spectators lined up along Kamakahonu Bay to cheer them on. From the pier, the spectators had a good view of the dolphins playing around the swimmers as they raced back into the finish.
Just as expected, the first pack of swimmers arrived just after 20 minutes of hard swimming, with Peter Parisi in the lead. Peter finished with a time of 23:16. Darren Phelan (23:18) and Nathaniel Goodale (23:32) rounded out the men’s top three.
For the women, Leahi Camacho took the title and third place overall with a total time of 23:20. Alyssa Foo (23:23) and Noelani Vargas (23:38) rounded out the women’s top three.
Other notable swimmers were Weylin Foo (28:41), Rani Tanimoto (29:59) and the oldest competitor, Warren Harlow, who finished in 44:20. All the swimmers did a fabulous job.
Two athletes have been dedicated to the race since the very beginning and have not missed one race. Their dedication is very much appreciated, and it’s so nice to see them out there every year doing what they love. The King’s Swim is part of three races in which the competitors have a chance to win the Triple Crown award. Swimmers who race all three swims — the Cinco de Mayo Swim, the Hapuna Roughwater Swim and the King’s Swim — are eligible for this award. At the awards ceremony, the Triple Crown winners were announced.
Leahi Camacho earned the women’s award, and Mark Noetzel took the men’s title.
This weekend is another big one for all the athletes. On Saturday, the Vitamin Shoppe will sponsor a family fun run at Kona Commons. The run is set to begin at 9:30 a.m.
Racers can choose to participate in one-, 3.1- or 6.2-mile races. The event also includes a one-mile keiki run. The entry fee for this race is at least one canned good item for the Hawaii Island Food Bank per participant. Dig out your patriotic colors because on Sunday Frozen Pea Productions will hold the Red, White and Blue Biathlon near Kailua Pier. This month’s race features a half–mile swim and a 3.5-mile run. The keiki course includes a short swim to the third buoy off the beach and back followed by a one-mile run.
Of course, you can participate in any combination of ways — short course or full course, fins or finless, or even with a snorkel, a swim ring or water wings. It’s just a time to get out there and enjoy the beautiful place where we live. The race is scheduled for 8:03 a.m. Hawaiian time.
Good luck to all those racing this weekend. And if you are not participating in any of the events, please be cautious of all the extra runners on the road. Mahalo.