Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hawaii Open Water Swimming Hall of Famers

Today, the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame will induct 17 aquatic athletes in its 2008 ceremonies. Part of the Hawaii Swimming Legacy Project, the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame has eight categories: Ocean Swimmers, Channel Swimmers, Swimmers, Water Polo, Coaches, Masters Swimming, Diving and Contributors.

In the Ocean Swimmers and Channel Swimmers categories, famed Keo Nakama and Dr. Harry Huffaker were inducted in 2002.

In 2003, Morris "Mo" Matthews, Diane Stowell, Fred Trask and Jim Welch were similarly honored.

In 2005, Robin Isayama (shown above) and Carl Kawauchi were honored as Channel Swimmers and Kaili Chun and John Flanagan were honored as Ocean Swimmers.

This year, Betty Ann Barnett, a 2006 FINA World Swimmer and holder of several world and U.S. masters records, James Caldwell, the first solo swimmer across the Auau and Pailolo Channels, Linda Kaiser (shown to the left), who has swum seven of the channels in Hawaii, and Mike Spalding, the first to swim the Kaulakahi and Kealaikahiki Channels among his seven channel swims, will be honored.

Kaiser recalled her 1990 swim between Maui and Molokai Islands across the 8.5-mile Palilolo Channel, when she swam something from the depths racing straight for her.

"All of sudden I thought, 'Oh, that's a shark. He just kept coming straight up, and I said to myself, 'Ooh, this may not be good,'" as the 12-foot shark circle a number of times beneath her before moving on.

These Hall of Famers are indeed made of something special.

Upper photo of Robin Isayama from the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame.

Lower photo of Linda Kaiser by the late Sergio Goes of the Honolulu Magazine.

Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association