Roosevelt’s Ahia has 1 more chance at states

Roosevelt senior Joseph Ahia will attend Hawaii on a swimming scholarship next year. Photo by Dennis Oda/Star-Advertiser.

Roosevelt senior Joseph Ahia has been one of the most accomplished swimmers in the OIA after breaking and setting records for three straight years.

In case you missed it, he was the featured prep athlete in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Ahia seems to outdo himself year after year. Now, as a senior, this is his last chance to improve on his times yet again.

“It’s hard, but seeing improvements in your times makes it worth it and feel that you can do it,” he said. “If you put in time and effort, whether it’s in the water or out of the water in the gym, to know that you’re getting better really helps you to push through so it’s really not a problem.”

As a sophomore, his 59.55 seconds in the 100 breaststroke eclipsed the former record of 59.61 at the OIA East championships. At that same meet, he teamed up with other Rough Riders to break the 200 medley relay record time of 1:43.02 after posting a 1:39.94.

In his junior year, Ahia’s 200 individual medley time of 1:55.80, 100 breaststoke time of 57.91 and role in the 200 freestyle relay (1:30.22) were all OIA records and all earned him gold medals.

Last week in the OIA championships that were moved to Monday because of the weather, Ahia’s time of 21.02 seconds in the 50 freestyle set another league record, and he improved on his 100 breaststroke with a 56.77. He was also on the winning 200 freestyle relay team.

“We have someone of his caliber maybe once every 10 or 20 years passing through Roosevelt,” Rough Riders head coach Susan Nishioka said. “It makes me really happy to know that we have this kind of talent in our area. We’ve been very fortunate the past few years.”

Despite all his accolades in the OIA, an HHSAA gold is the accomplishment that has eluded him in his prep career. His best finish is a silver medal in last year’s 50-yard freestyle, with his 21.36 falling just short of Mid-Pacific’s Dawson Sloan, who recorded a 21.12.

Ahia has an opportunity to change that this Friday and Saturday. This year’s HHSAA swimming and diving championships will take place at the Kihei Aquatic Center in Maui. It will be his last time competing for Roosevelt before he enrolls at Hawaii this fall on a swimming scholarship.

For Ahia, who balances swimming for the Rough Riders with his Splash Aquatics club team, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“There wouldn’t be any other team I’d want to swim for besides Roosevelt because their support here is good. Whether we’re good at a certain event or not, they don’t look at the negative,” Ahia said. “They look at it as an opportunity to get better. I love this team.”

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