History And Heroes Of The Waikiki Roughwater Swim

History And Heroes Of The Waikiki Roughwater Swim

Courtesy of Alton Motobu, Oahu, Hawaii.

While the Hawaiian islands is home to the NFL Pro Bowl, PGA tour events, Honolulu Marathon, Xterra World Championships and the Ironman World Championships, no swimming event is bigger than the Waikiki Roughwater Swim in Hawaii.

Annually held in September, the Waikiki Roughwater Swim attracts new swimmers and veteran swimmers year after year.

Some of those swimmers are now approaching their fourth decade in the 2.4-mile swim across Waikiki Bay.

Hawaiian Islands channel swimmer Alton Motobu completed some exhaustive research and compiled the top swimmers who have completed in the event that was the inspiration behind the 2.4-mile swim of full Ironman events.

Based on the results for 44 editions of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim between 1970 and 2014 (not including the cancelled 2005 race), Motobu researched the following history:

Most Frequent Overall Winners – Male
4-time winners:
* Paul Stader in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980
* Alex Kostich in 1994, 2002, 2004, 2006
3-time winners:
* Brett Phillips in 1974, 1975, 1979
* Malcolm Allen in 1996, 1997, 1999

Most Frequent Overall Winners – Female
8-time winner
* Kaili Chun in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984
4-time winners
* Nadine Takai in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
* Luana Rowe in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
3-time winners
* Lisa Hazen Johns in 1991, 1993, 1995

Fastest Male Finish Times (regardless of buoy placement, drafting rules, currents)
1. Jonathon Ezer (1971) 41:09
2. Daniel McLellan (1992) 42:13
3. Trent Grimsey (2009) 42:20

Fastest Female Finish Times (regardless of buoy placement, drafting rules, currents)
1. Lisa Hazen Johns (1991) 46:00
2. Liz Hogan (1971) 46:42
3. Kathy Shipman (1972) 46:49

Most Top 3 Male Overall Finishes
1. Alex Kostich – 8 times: 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006
2. John Flanagan – 7 times: 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2009
3. Paul Stader – 5 times: 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980
3. Max Metzker – 5 times: 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989
3. Chris Moore – 5 times: 1982, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992
3. Noa Sakamoto – 5 times: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007

Most Top 3 Female Overall Finishes
1. Kaili Chun – 9 times: 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984
2. Nadine Takai – 8 times: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2003, 2007
3. Luana Rowe – 6 times: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Fastest Woman Finisher in Overall Results by Place
* Nancy Ivy – 1973: 3rd place overall finisher
* Kaili Chun – 1976: 3rd place overall finisher
* Kathy Shipman – 1972: 5th place overall finisher
* Julia Francisco – 1975: 5th place overall finisher
* Kaili Chun – 1979: 5th place overall finisher
* Kaili Chun – 1980: 5th place overall finisher
* Nadine Takai – 1988: 5th place overall finisher

Fastest Woman Finisher in Overall Results by Time
* Lisa Hazen Johns – 1991: 6th overall – 18 seconds behind 1st overall finisher
* Stacey Gartrell – 1997: 9th overall – 24 seconds behind 1st overall finisher
* Karen Burton – 1992: 8th overall – 48 seconds behind 1st overall finisher

Most Top 3 Age Group Finishes – Male
* Ernie Leskovitz: 23 times, 1st-20x, 2nd-1x, 3rd-2x
* Rick Heltzel: 22 times, 1st-12x, 2nd-7x, 3rd-3x, 4th-6th-4x
* Mo Mathews: 21 times, 1st-14x, 2nd-6x, 3rd-1x
* Fred Trask: 17 times, 1st-8x, 2nd-5x, 3rd-4x, 5th-1x
* Jim Welch, 14 times, 1st-8x, 2nd-6x

Most Top-3 Age Group Finishes – Female
* Betty Ann Cary Barnett Sallee: 34 times, 1st-31x, 2nd-2x, 3rd-1x
* Diane Stowell: 23 times, 1st-22x, 2nd-1x
* Sui-Lan Ellsworth: 17 times, 1st-3x, 2nd-10x, 3rd-4x, 4th-5x
* Miki Yoshida David: 12 times, 1st-7x, 2nd-2x, 3rd-3x, 5th-9th-4x

Most Finishes from 1970 to 2014* 1. Ray Nakamoto (age 65), 37 times 1976-2014
2. Betty Ann Cary Barnett Sallee (68), 34 times 1972-2014
3. Alton Motobu (63), 33 times 1980-2014
4. Bruce Clark (72), 32 times 1975-2014
5. Carl Kawauchi (71), 30 times 1981-2014
5. Joe Lileikis (51), 30 times 1981-2014
7. Rick Heltzel (57), 28 times 1984-2014 7. Phyllis Quinn (58), 28 times 1982-2014
9. Diane Corn (56), 24 times 1985-2014
9. Jill Buss (58), 24 times 1988-2014
9. Robert Roper (71), 24 times 1974-2010
12. Diane Stowell (72), 23 times 1981-2006
12. Laurie Foster (59), 23 times 1980-2014
12. Russell Iwamura (53), 23 times 1983-2014
12. Ernie Leskovitz (77), 23 times 1991-2014
16. Valisa Saunders (60), 22 times 1981-2014
16. Sui-Lan Ellsworth (64), 22 times 1988-2011
16. Linda Kaiser (59), 22 times 1984-2009
16. Ellen Shockro (72), 22 times 1987-2014
20. Lynn Jolly (49), 21 times 1992-2014
20. Mo Mathews (77), 21 times 1976-2004
22. Sharyn Klafehn (59), 20 times 1982-2006
*Age as of last participation in Waikiki Roughwater Swim

Most Consecutive finishes
1. Alton Motobu: 28 from 1986 to 2014
2. Ray Nakamoto: 27 from 1976 to 2002
3. Carl Kawauchi: 25 from 1981 to 2006

Oldest Male Finishers
* Gerald O’Regan, age 88 in 1988
* H. William Burgess, 84 in 2012

Oldest Female Finishers
* Ruth Manfredi, age 78 in 2002
* Lori Auhll, age 78 in 2014

Youngest Male Finishers
* Timothy Marr, age 7 in 1986
* Chris Bartels, age 7 in 1974
* Donald Chong, age 7 in 1972

Youngest Female Finishers
* Elise Baker, age 7 in 1999
* Anela Peneku, age 7 in 1978
* Terese D’Orazio, age 7 in 1973
* Robin Utu, age 7 in 1972

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