Existentially speaking, Kaleoaloha is the water

Kamehameha's Kanoa Kaleoaloha, left, shakes hands with Punahou's Sam Sutherland. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser
Kamehameha’s Kanoa Kaleoaloha, left, shakes hands with Punahou’s Sam Sutherland. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

Kamehameha’s Kanoa Kaleoaloha had just set his third of four meet records at the 38th annual Dorothy Aki Swimming Invitational on Saturday, when he was asked how his day was going.

“Pretty good. The water was a lot warmer than yesterday,” he said.

A little prompting was needed to — as the saying goes — lead this horse to, pun intended, water and get him to drink.

“I ate some good food.”


“I got a good rest and did some really good stretching.”

Come on man, what about what you just did five minutes ago?

Kaleoaloha went into a story about how his brother was going to give him $50 for any record he broke at the meet, and at this point, the promised loot was already up to $150 and it reached $200 by the end of the day.

The senior who is orally committed to swim for Florida State next fall set marks in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles in the preliminaries and then beat his own records in the finals Saturday.

And he’s learning a lot more than how to make a bit of money.

“In the past, I wasn’t thinking about getting the fastest times and just trying to go with the flow. I learned that you have to put the effort in. I wasn’t a die-hard about it.”

Former and future teammate Jacob Urbano was one person who prodded Kaleoaloha to try his hardest.

“One time at a practice, I was going to skip a set and didn’t think anyone would notice,” Kaleoaloha said. “I had done it before and nobody noticed. But Jacob saw it and said, ‘Hey, you should finish that set.’ ”

Urbano swam with Kaleoaloha for the Kamehameha Swim Club and is now swimming for Florida State.

In that postrace interview Saturday, Kaleoaloha never got around to talking too much about his achievements.

Somehow, the conversation turned to Bruce Lee’s famous quote about how “if you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.”

Philosophically, Kaleoaloha said something about how if a person goes into the water, he becomes the water.

And, in an attempt at being intellectual, the interviewer added something like: “The molecular structure of a person belongs to the vast collection of molecules in the universe, so we become the world.”

By that time, the realization hit both parties that it was a good idea to get back to the business at hand.

For Kaleoaloha that meant his fourth meet record of the event.

Oh, and later on, a friendly reminder to his brother to pay up.


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