Colletta makes splash at states

HSC youngster putting up impressive times in distance races

Helena Colletta of Hawaii Swim Club competes in the girls 13-18 1,500-meter freestyle during the Hawaii State Age Group Long Course Championships on Thursday afternoon at Kihei Aquatic Center. Collette finished in second place, behind Kamehameha’s Kai Flanagan. The Maui News / DAKOTA GROSSMAN photos

KIHEI — Helena Colletta knew she had a chance to go fast in her 1,500-meter freestyle heat on the first day of the Hawaii State Age Group Long Course Championships at the Kihei Aquatic Center on Thursday.

She did.

Swimming the distance for just the second time ever, Colletta, a rising freshman at Seabury Hall who swims for Hawaii Swim Club, finished second overall in the girls 13-18 race in 18 minutes, 26.16 seconds.

That is 42 seconds faster than the first time the 13-year-old swam the distance and is a U.S. Swimming Sectional qualifying time, well under the 18:54.49 mark required.

“I was kind of aiming for around 18:20 — that was kind of my goal time — so I’m glad with my time,” Colletta said. “I didn’t expect to go that fast.”

Natalie Low of Hawaii Swim Club dives over teammate Karissa Ginoza, helping their team take second in the girls 13-14 800-meter freestyle relay. The Maui News / DAKOTA GROSSMAN photo

Colletta swam a senior sectional time in the 800 free in May at a Maui age group meet when she swam a time of 9:44. That finish clearly showed her what was possible — her 800 split on Thursday was 9:41.23.

“I was not expecting to get that time, I was just hoping to go under 10 minutes that day,” Colletta said.

HSC assistant coach Kimberly Kaya was impressed — she was in charge of the HSC group on Thursday as head coach Reid Yamamoto attended a funeral.

“She’s been training really hard, we’ve been noticing that she’s been doing a lot of her personal best times these past few meets,” Kaya said. “So, we’re very excited for her. Hopefully she can keep on continuing on this fast pace and maybe she’ll make some more senior sectional times.”

She was neck and neck with winner Kai Flanagan of Kamehameha Swim Club for nearly the entire 30-lap race of the 50-meter pool.

Competitors in the boys 15-18 800-meter freestyle relay prepare to take off from the starting blocks Thursday. The Maui News / DAKOTA GROSSMAN photo

“We were hoping that she could hold on, but she put up a good fight and she held strong all the way until the end,” Kaya said.

Yamamoto sees a bright future for Colletta.

“I think the sky is the limit for her,” Yamamoto said on Wednesday. “She’s been coming along kind of slowly, but she had that breakout swim a couple weeks ago. She has been training real well, so I’m kind of curious to see how she does this weekend.”

Colletta can’t help but think of following in the footsteps of recent Seabury Hall graduate Jasmine O’Brien, a two-time state high school champion and state record holder in the 500-yard free. O’Brien was in the bleachers on Thursday and leaves to attend the University of Notre Dame next month.

The pair were HSC teammates for the last year and a half.

Keanna Campbell of Island Aquatics reaches the halfway point of her girls 13-18 1,500 free heat. The Maui News / DAKOTA GROSSMAN photo

“I just turned 13 about a year ago, so I just started swimming distance, but yeah, Jasmine is definitely very inspirational in the distance events and in general,” Colletta said.

“I’m excited to get that time, that was cool,” she added. “I really want to go to sectionals, that sounds really fun. I know some of my teammates will be there, so I look forward to it.”

Kysha Altura, who recently finished her freshman year at Fordham University, is another former HSC teammate for Colletta.

“It’s pretty cool, they were my teammates, so I definitely looked up to them,” Colletta said. “I know they were really fast, so it’s cool to be swimming long distance. Kysha is in college now, but she still swims with us when she comes back.

“I’ve never really thought of myself in that realm. I just set my goal times and try to meet them.”

Flanagan finished in 18:22.39. HSC’s Tulip Hori was third in the same heat in 19:01.68.

“I like long distance, it’s fun,” Colletta said. “It’s definitely hard, but I really enjoy it. Kai definitely pushed me and she’s really fast. So, getting to swim next to her, she’s a really good long-distance swimmer. That was fun.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

Hawaii State Age Group Long course championships

Thursday’s Results

At Kihei Aquatic Center

TOP 5

GIRLS

11-12

400-meter IM–1. Sage Miller, KSC, 5:43.64; 2. Haylie Kaichi, PAQ, 5:53.44; 3. Kei Nishikawa, PCA, 6:00.14; 4. Kyra Lurito, KSC, 6:03.64; 5. Johanna Zeebe, KSC, 6:03.87.

400 freestyle relay–1. Swim Kauai Aquatics ‘A’ (Mahina Dameron, Pulama Kaeo, TaiMana Kjeldsen, Chloe Inouye) 4:26.62; 2. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ 4:27.86; 3. Punahou Aquatics ‘A’ 4:28.89; 4. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 4:34.31; 5. Splash Aquatics ‘A’ 4:52.44.

13-14

800 freestyle relay–1. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ (Kai Flanagan, Christie Jiang, Charlie Ann Limasa, Joey Misailidis) 9:10.10; 2. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 9:17.66; 3. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 9:27.25; 4. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘B’ 9:34.28; 5. Punahou Aquatics ‘A’ 9:46.20.

1,500 freestyle–1. Kai Flanagan, KSC, 18:22.39; 2. Helena Colletta, HSC, 18:26.16; 3. Tulip Hori, HSC, 19:01.68; 4. Reina Lileikis, KSC, 19:37.45; 5. Kamaira Silva, SKA, 19:38.56.

400 freestyle relay–1. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ (Christie Jiang, Kai Flanaga, Charlie Ann Limasa, Joey Misailidis) 4:11.74; 2. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 4:18.37; 3. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 4:19.24; 4. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘B’ 4:25.50; 5. Punahou Aquatics ‘A’ 4:26.96.

15-18

800 freestyle relay–1. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ (Grace Monahan, Sofia Carlson, Mari Yasumi, Paulina Ruelas) 8:45.16; 2. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 9:00.16; 3. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 9:10.87; 4. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘B’ 9:21.89; 5. Island Aquatics ‘A’ 9:56.84.

1,500 freestyle–1. Jamy Lum, KSC, 18:27.24; 2. Paulina Ruelas, KSC, 18:30.73; 3. Reyna Iwamoto, PCA, 18:37.55; 4. Leigh Farah, KSC, 18:41.09; 5. Claudia Galaida, KSC, 20:05.33.

400 freestyle relay–1. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ (Paulina Ruelas, Sofia Carlson, Mari Yasumi, Grace Monahan) 4:01.40; 2. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 4:05.21; 3. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 4:09.05; 4. Iolani Swim Club ‘A’ 4:15.99; 5. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘B’ 4:21.43.

BOYS

11-12

400 IM–1. Kekai Haines, ASC, 5:57.56; 2. Kodai Eskin, KSC, 6:04.19; 3. Taha Zairi, KSC, 6:04.87; 4. Kaiea Hudgins, ASC, 6:30.87; 5. Hulton Chicoine, ASC, 6:39.68.

400 freestyle relay–1. Splash Aquatics ‘A’ (Jordan Fang, Evans Tan, Nicholas Xu, Kaita Endo) 4:32.96; 2. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ 4:48.40; 3. Academy Swim Club ‘A’ 4:52.17; 4. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 4:55.69.

13-14

800 freestyle relay–1. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ (Stone Miller, Samuel Ruelas, Knut Robinson, Briscoe Beaton) 8:47.55; 2. Kona Aquatics ‘A’ 8:57.26; 3. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 9:20.50; 4. Iolani Swim Club ‘A’ 9:26.07; 5. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 9:34.78.

1,500 freestyle–1. Stone Miller, KSC, 17:32.77; 2. Mathew Iverson, Lahaina, 17:57.23; 3. Aiden Ankrum, KONA, 18:14.10; 4. Luca Courteau, AUL, 19:00.54; 5. Peter Mucciarone, PAQ, 19:01.71.

400 freestyle relay–1. Kona Aquatics, ‘A’ (Nolan Morton, Aiden Ankrum, YoHan Choi, Duke Becker) 4:02.54; 2. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ 4:04.29; 3. Iolani Swim Club ‘A’ 4:06.87; 4. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 4:14.08.

15-18

800 freestyle relay–1. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ (Michael Petrides, Noah Peters, Tyler Kawakami, Jaek Horner) 7:53.94; 2. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘B’ 7:58.25; 3. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 8:22.80; 4. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 8:27.96.

1,500 freestyle–1. Micah Ginoza, KSC, 16:31.11; 2. Makena Ginoza, KSC, 16:35.26; 3. Noah Peters, KSC, 17:08.38; 4. Brennan Dompe, KSC, 17:17.46; 5. Rayne Duhaylonsod, KSC, 17:26.23.

400 freestyle relay–1. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘A’ (Tyler Kawakami, Noah Peters, Noa Copp, Michael Petrides) 3:34.71; 2. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘B’ 3:42.07; 3. Kamehameha Swim Club ‘C’ 3:46.05; 4. Aulea Swim Club ‘A’ 3:46.80; 5. Hawaii Swimming Club ‘A’ 3:47.54.