BIIF swimming and diving championships: Freshman’s gold rush fuels HPA boys runaway

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald
    Kaden Parker at the end of the 50 free Saturday at Kamehameha's Naeole Pool.
  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald
    Kaden Parker beginning the 50 free Saturday at Kamehameha's Naeole Pool.

KEAAU — Like any good older sister, Hawaii Prep senior Kira Parker was proud of Kaden Parker’s performance.

And as is the case in any good sibling rivalry, she couldn’t help but take notice of the freshman’s times.

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“It’s definitely really cool having him here,” Parker said at Saturday’s BIIF swimming and diving championships, “but he’s faster than me now and he’s like 13 or 14 or something.”

The boys field is fast becoming familiar with the feeling.

Kaden Parker sprinted his way to four gold medals and showed tantalizing potential in highlighting another runaway swim for HPA, which claimed its fourth consecutive BIIF title at Naeole Pool.

Parker, 14, claimed the 5o- yard and 100-yard freestyle (22.80 seconds and 50.88, respectively) and added two relay golds — four events are the maximum allowed.

“He’s still a learning and developing swimmer and there is still so much good to go,” Ka Makani coach Mark Noetzel said, “but he has some great sprint abilities.

“He also swam a very good 500 at the (state age group meet). He was sick, which is why we were really only able to have him swim in the 50 and 100 this season.”

HPA won all three relays, and Aapo Eerola (200 free, 1:47.94), Brock Imonen (500, 4:50.01) and Ryan Cohen (100 backstroke, 56:32) also struck gold as Ka Makani lapped the competition with 207 points. Hilo (80) and Waiakea (73) rounded out the top three.

As a part of two relays, Eerola earned three golds along with bronze behind Imonen in the 500. He doubled up in the 200 and 500 gold last season.

The senior is native of Finland, where high school competitions are held indoors using meters. But a comfortable team victory feels the same in any country.

“I just let it go and didn’t think about it,” said Eerola, the reigning champion of the Kukio Blue Water Swim.

Kealakehe’s Weylin Foo joined Parker in taking double individual gold, claiming the 100 butterfly (53:51), Cohen took silver, and the 100 breaststroke (1:01.17) ahead of HPA’s Matthew Ostrem and Waiakea’s Nainoa Loo.

Loo delivered the only gold for the Warriors, winning the 200 individual medley in 2:01.89.

The HPA juggernaut twice denied top-seeded Cameron Wells, but he still took home double silver (200 and 500 free), a rarity for a Christian Liberty swimmer.

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Kamehameha freshman Justin Chow left with silver in the 50 free and bronze in the 100 free and HPA seniors Asher Robertson and Alec Herre also captured two individuals medals.

Earlier in the day, Hilo got a diving gold from Kore Ohumukini, who bested Keaau’s Keliipono Mendoza, the state runner-up last season.