KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Preparatory Academy head swimming coach Mark Noetzel loves to educate and motivate his student-athletes, both inside the pool and out.
One of Noetzel’s favorite teaching methods is to assign books to prepare his swimmers for big meets.
His latest assignment, “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon, helped propel the Ka Makani boys to first place at the BIIF championships at Old Airport Park’s Kona Community Aquatic Center on Saturday and helped the girls make a late push for second overall.
“Everyone’s energy was positive and they kept it going throughout the meet,” Noetzel said. “We had phenomenal swims and everyone was dropping times. From the prelims (on Friday) to the finals, it was a fun experience for the kids and it was great for the league to see so many records go.”
The Hawaii Prep boys dominated the meet with 140 points, outpacing second place Kealakehe with 103. Rounding out the rest of the scoring were Hilo (73), Waiakea (66), Kamehameha (57), Konawaena (33), Honokaa (18), Christian Liberty Academy (14) and Ka’u (5).
“It was a team effort right across the board,” Noetzel said. “Guys were sacrificing events so they could do other events to help the team out.”
In the girls division, Ka Makani finished with 100 points after an exciting relay to end the meet, but Hilo maintained a seven point lead to claim victory. Rounding out the rest of the field were Waiakea (99), Kealakehe (85), Kamehameha (56), Keaau (17), Konawaena (15), Saint Joseph (14), Honokaa (14) and Kohala (10)
Junior Brock Imonen and sophomore Kaden Parker led the charge for the Hawaii Prep boys. Brock claimed two victories, breaking the BIIF Championship meet time in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4 minutes and 43.07 seconds, and touching first in the 200 freestyle (1:45.46). Imonen was also apart of the winning 400 freestyle relay team (3:27.81).
“I was hoping for a little faster time in the 200 but I did really well,” Imonen said. “The 500 was invigorating. Like any 500, I knew it was going to hurt but I just pushed through.”
Imonen was not surprised he was able to claim the record because he has faster times swimming for his club team.
“I knew I could do it,” he said.
Parker did a great job of rebounding from the disappointment of having his 200 freestyle relay team get disqualified in the prelims. He shook it off on the second day of the meet, claiming first in two freestyle sprint races, the 50 (21.63) and the 100 (47.57). He was also a part of the winning 200 medley relay team (1:41.41)
“I was able to drop a second in my 100 in the prelims, and in the 50, I wasn’t expecting the time I got at all,” Parker said. “The meet went really well and I am proud of our team.”
The Hawaii Prep boys also got a boost from sophomore diver Jon Kuyper, who recorded a BIIF league record score of 322.25 in the 1-meter event.
“Jon was a state finalist last year and he came back, worked hard and set a league record,” Noetzel said. “(Head coach) Patricia Kassis has been working with these divers and their hard work is showing.”
Senior Maile Lawson led the way for the Hawaii Prep girls with a record breaking performance in the 100 breaststroke. Breaking her own BIIF Championship meet and league record by more than a second and a half, Lawson cruised to victory in a time of 1:03.56.
However, Lawson wasn’t really focused on the time she needed heading into the race. She was more interested in her competition, including Waiakea’s Korrie Tenagan in her 200 IM race earlier in the day and her club teammate, Kealakehe’s Shea Tsuha, in the 100 breaststroke.
Tenagan beat Lawson in the 200 with a BIIF Championship meet and league best time of 2:05.97. Lawson placed second (2:07.37). Tsuha finished second to Lawson in the 100 (1:06.74)
“I love racing Korrie. She definitely puts up a fight and is an awesome person to race with. We were psyching each other up,” Lawson said. “In the 100, I saw Shea and said, ‘Come on Shea, lets race.’ It was a lot of fun.”
Lawson was also apart of the winning 400 freestyle relay team that helped clinch a second place finish for the girls in their final race of the evening. That team was also comprised of junior’s Ryanne Doherty, Anna Sorensen and Chloe Hughes. They finished in a time of 3:41.94.
“It’s funny, before the race we were joking and making a manifestation circle, saying we were going to dive in, have our dives legal and swim great. Everything we talked about we did,” Lawson said. “It is fun to race relays because you are racing for something bigger than yourself, you are racing for the team. It is something I am looking forward to in college.”
During the relay race, Lawson pulled off a split time of 53.50, her fastest freestyle split in two years, according to her head coach.
“That is contributed to ‘The Energy Bus,’” Noetzel said.
HILO CLAIMS GIRLS TITLE
Led by diver Sydney Patterson and the 200 freestyle relay team of freshman Phoebe Wyatt, sophomores Raven Domingo and Sky Domingo, and junior Mahala Kaapuni, the Viking girls held off a hard charging Hawaii Prep for the girls title.
Patterson claimed first in the 1-meter dive with a point total of 358.6. Hilo claimed four of the eight qualifying spots in diving. The 400 relay team edged out Kamehameha by touching the wall first in 1:42.95.
While the Vikings only managed two victories in the girls division, the team got the points it needed by claiming several spots from second through eighth throughout the meet.
“I really didn’t expect the team total until a couple of things went our way,” said head coach Jon Hayashida. “Some DQ’s went our way and we had a lot of swimmers make the finals. That was the main thing. Those points start to add up quickly.”
Hayashida was helped by co-head coach Patti Andrade-Spencer and diving head coach Malia Naukana.
Several records fell on the final day of the swim meet. Along with Imonen, Tengan and Lawson, Mina Poppas and Weylin Foo both had record breaking performances. Both Foo and Poppas also had arguably the best individual performances of the day by claiming two records each.
Poppas, a senior from Waiakea, claimed the meet and league record in the 200 freestyle (1:52.42) and the meet record in the 500 freestyle (5:05.50).
Foo, a junior at Kealakehe, claimed a meet and league record in the 100 butterfly (50.96) and 200 IM (1:56.92).