Ginoza and Williams earn MIL Swimmers of the Year honors | News, Sports, Jobs

King Kekaulike High School junior Reese Williams and – The Maui News/MATTHEW THAYER photo

Maui High School senior Karissa Ginoza and King Kekaulike junior Reese Williams have learned a lot through swimming, both in and out of the pool.

These lessons have translated into success in the form of Maui Interscholastic League crowns and Maui Interscholastic League Swimmers of the Year, as determined by league coaches.

As she closes the door on her swimming career and looks forward to college, Ginoza reflected on how her time as a student-athlete has prepared her for the future.

“I think the two most important things were definitely courage and poise,” Ginoza said. “The amount of time you train and lose a hundredth of a second is insane, but I would definitely say that mentally I’m a lot stronger than most of my peers and just learning to balance the school aspect with the swimming aspect….Finding that balance and staying on top of everything else has definitely been a challenge, but I’ve grown and it will help me as a student and even when I enter the real world on the labor market.

For Williams, who started swimming at just 5 years old for the Maui Dolphins, the sport has shown her what it takes to achieve her goals.

Maui High senior Karissa Ginoza (bottom photo) is this year’s MIL Swimmers of the Year. – The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“You can be good at anything you want to be good at, you just have to try really hard,” he said. “It definitely makes me more competitive with, for example, everything I do – not even sports related. Everything I do I want to be the best I can be. I think that comes from swimming.

Ginoza capped off her last high school meet as the state finalist in the women’s 100-yard backstroke and finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly at the K. Mark Takai/HHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships last month. She also anchored the Sabers’ 400 freestyle relay in third place.

At the MIL Championships 10 days prior, she left the Kihei Aquatic Center with four gold medals, winning the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke and leading her team to victories in the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.

“I certainly couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my season,” she said. “It was definitely pretty bittersweet because it was a nice ending, you know, I finally got that Futures time that I’ve been working on for three years, Maui High School has done amazing things, like, every swimmer lost time and our relays really did well but it also made me look back from a different perspective and realize what I’m leaving behind since I don’t swim in college so it was really great to experience this with my team – just the smiles on everyone’s faces, but it also made me a little sad inside.

Williams was the MIL champion in the boys 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke and was part of the winning Na Alii 200 medley relay team. In the United States, he was bronze in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 100 backstroke.

The Maui News 2022-23 MIL Swimming & Diving All-Stars

“I’m pretty happy with it, there’s always room for improvement and I want to improve next year and improve a lot,” Williams said. “The progress is probably attributed to my coaches giving me good practices, and my teammates and friends pushing me every day to work harder and harder and come to every practice.”

After the state championship, Williams said he took no days off and was back in the pool preparing for his senior season.

“I want to be first in the United States in as many events as possible and I want to break the MIL record in the 100m freestyle – I’m seconds away now,” he said. “It’s the best time of the year because it’s not just about swimming with the club swimmers, but with anyone who wants to swim, so it’s super fun. Your classmates, your peers – everyone is out there having fun swimming. After swim meets, we all go to the beach and it’s super fun.

Williams is joined on the MIL boys’ first-team all-star roster by Maui Prep’s Noah Caiserman, Legend Storer and Carter Bozich; Ryan Wise of Kamehameha Maui; Jake McGill and House Alexander of Lahainaluna; and Niji Wada of Maui High.

Ginoza is joined in the MIL Women’s First Team by Maui High teammates Aika Swanson and Charie Salacup; Sacha Salem and Yuna Lee of Maui Prep; Kalla Pellettieri, Helena Colletta and Tulip Hori from Seabury; and Lily Barrett, diver to King Kekaulike.

Maui Prep’s Michael “Tex” Ritter, who guided Na Pueo to their first-ever league tag team title sweep, was selected as the MIL Coach of the Year.

To be named MIL Swimmer of the Year “means so much, I’ve been swimming for 12 or 13 years, so to finally get that all-important MIL moment, it means a lot,” Ginoza said.

In college, the Sabers senior said she would study mechanical engineering and medicine on the West Coast. She plans to come home during college vacation to visit her old team and help the coach.

“As grueling as sport is, it’s always the people who make it so enjoyable,” she said. “Some of my fondest memories were of training trips or just swim meets where we just traveled to Oahu. … I know when we all go through the same grueling set, you have the same mindset and the same connection that I think I will miss when I move on.

* Dakota Grossman is at [email protected]

The Maui News 2022-23 MIL Swimming & Diving All-Stars

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