Stars Are Out At The 52nd Waikiki Roughwater Swim

Waikiki Roughwater Swim race director Stefan Reinke announced the participation of top swimmers at the 52nd edition to be held on its traditional Labor Day date, Monday, September 4th on Oahu.

Reinke explains, “Dating back to 1970, some of the world’s top swimmers will compete in Honolulu, Hawaii to race in the 3.84 km Waikiki Roughwater Swim that finishes on the shoreline of Duke Kahanamoku Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.

As in past years, the winner of the 2023 swim will have his or her name engraved on the Alexander Hume Ford perpetual trophy, while the top female finisher will be honored with the Linda Kaiser memorial trophy.

Ollie Signorini from Australia, the 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2022 overall winner, will be back to go for his fifth title.  The 2022 women’s champion Kaimakana Flanagan will in her first week of classes at California Baptist University, but her younger sister Kona will be there to defend the family name. Their father John who represented the USA at the 2001 FINA World Championships is a two-time Waikiki Roughwater Swim champion.  But the odds-on favorite is the 2022 women’s runner-up Catherine Breed from California.

Other expected contenders include:

  • Olympian Bill Thorley who represented Hong Kong in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics 10 km marathon swim
  • Alex Kostich, participating in his 29th consecutive swim and a Pan American Games gold medalist, a three-time winner (1994, 2002, and 2006) with 26 Top 10 finishes including holding the course record
  • Chad La Tourette with a second in 2019 and a fourth in 2018
  • Riley Clinton, a University of Hawaii freshman and USA Swimming national qualifier
  • Brock Imonen, a University of Hawaii swimmer and winner of the 2023 North Shore Challenge
  • Casslyn Treydte, the 3rd fastest 500-yard freestyle swimmer at the University of Hawaii
  • Kailee Chow, a fast University of Hawaii swimmer
  • Tilali Scanlan, an Olympian from Samoa
  • Joe Lileikis, a two-time former Waikiki Roughwater Swim champion
  • Reina Lileikis
  • Tom Lileikis
  • Rick Heltzel, former Waikiki Roughwater Swim champion who swam the 2nd fastest time in history   

The final 842-meter homestretch from the ocean swells off Waikiki Beach to the finish line high up on the shoreline at Duke Kahanamoku Beach is usually a frenzy of drafting, positioning, and sprinting including a brief bit of coral reef jumping if the tide is low.

Last year’s female winner Kai Flanagan is off to college, swimming as a freshman at California Baptist University.  But she will be racing on the mainland when her team participates in the first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation open water swimming championships held in Long Beach, California on October 21st.

Photo above shows 2022 women’s podium finishers Catherine BreedKai Flanagan and Kathleen Hohwald.

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

to educate, enthuse, and entertain all those who venture past the shore

3 thoughts on “Stars Are Out At The 52nd Waikiki Roughwater Swim

  1. I hope to video people I know at the starting line and finish line if I can get an UBER there this morning. I completed two 25 years ago and failed at one 11 years ago when I got sick half way through. 6 years ago when I trained for it again they cancelled it I hope to do it again next year when I’m 87 about to be 88.

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