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Roughwater swim has near record-breaking year

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Sep 02 2013 06:51:04 PM HST

Labor Day means the Waikiki Roughwater Swim is on; this year's race seeing the biggest crowd in more than a decade.

HONOLULU -

Infiltrating the clear blue like bees to honey, more than 1,100 swimmers cut through the waters off Waikiki, to mark the annual Roughwater Swim.

It is as daring as it is diverse and as intense as it is inspiring.

"You have all walks of life. People come from all over the world," said Alex Kostich, participating for the 21st time.

"We have an eight-year-old swimming today, we have two 80-year-olds swimming as well," said race director Kaia Hedlund.

"If people can see someone in a wheelchair having fun, that's great. Inspiration is something that needs to be drawn from one's self. It's not the external part, so have a look inside, and give it a crack," said John Maclean, who's racing despite being wheel-chair bound.

"There was one year when a blind man did the swim with his dog, and they completed the swim. I used to think I did well, but when I saw that I thought that was pretty amazing," said Kostich.

What's called the Swim with Mike is part of the event, which is a college scholarship for physically challenged athletes.

"We want to give back to the community," said Hedlund.

With light winds, favorable currents, and spirits on over-drive participants said it shaped up to be an ideal day for a great swim, with even a few extra surprises.

"For the first time in 21 years, I saw a pod of dolphins swim right below me which was beautiful!" said Kostich.

The Swim with Mike event has already funded five scholarships -- two for Hawaii athletes.

If you're feeling inspired then keep an eye out for two clinics in July and August next year.

Trainers teach techniques and strategies for anyone who wants to have a great experience.
 

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