Maui News

Swimming Legend and Former Legislator, Keo Nakama Remembered

September 28, 2011, 6:03 AM HST
* Updated September 29, 10:24 AM
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By Wendy Osher

File photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui-born swimming legend and former state lawmaker, Keo Nakama, will be remembered during memorial services on Friday, September 30, 2011.

The governor has also ordered flags to be flown at half staff on Friday in his honor.

Nakama began his legendary swimming career in the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Irrigation ditches close to the sugarcane factory in Pu’unene on Maui.

During his swim career, he won 27 US National Championships from 100 yards to 1500 meters, and set the world record swim for a mile at 20:29.

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Nakama was also the first person to swim completely across the 27-mile Kaiwi Channel from Moloka’i to O’ahu, an accomplishment he completed in 15.5 hours.

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After serving as a Hawai’i high school swim coach, teacher and athletic director, Nakama was elected to the Hawai’i State House of Representatives, where he served for five terms until 1974.

Nakama died on September 8 in Honolulu at the age of 91.

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