Ginoza, Williams Receive MIL Swimmer of the Year Awards | 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 the Maui Interscholastic League Swimmer of the Year title as determined by the league’s coaches.

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

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

For Williams, who first started swimming for the Maui Dolphins when he was just 5 years old, the sport showed him what it takes to achieve his goals.

Maui High Senior Karissa Ginoza (bottom photo) is this year’s MIL Swimmer 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 really try,” he said. “It definitely makes me more competitive with everything I do – not even sports. I want to do my best in everything I do. I think it comes from swimming.”

Ginoza finished her last high school meeting as the runner-up in the girls’ 100-yard backstroke and finished fourth in the 100-meter butterfly at last month’s K. Mark Takai/HHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships. She also anchored the Sabers 400 freestyle relay in third place.

At the MIL Championships 10 days earlier, she left Kihei Aquatic Center with four gold medals, winning the 100 fly and 100 back, and leading her team to victories in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.

“I definitely couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my season,” she said. “It was definitely quite bittersweet because it was a great ending, you know, I finally got that futures time that I’ve been working on for the last three years, Maui high school did fantastic, every swimmer has the time lost and our relays really did. Well, it also kind of made me look back at it from a different perspective and realize what I’m leaving behind since I’m not swimming in college, so it was definitely awesome just being with that my team – just the smiles on everyone’s faces, but it also made me a little sad inside.”

Williams was a MIL champion in the boys 100 free and 100 back and was part of Na Alii’s winning 200 medley relay team. In the States, he was a bronze medalist in the 100 free and fourth in the 100 back.

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 do better next year and improve a lot,” Williams said. “Progress is probably due to my coaches giving me good workouts and my teammates and friends pushing me to work harder and harder every day and come to every workout.”

After the state championship, Williams said he didn’t take any rest days and was right back in the pool preparing for his senior season.

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

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

Ginoza will be joined on the MIL girls’ first team by Maui High teammates Aika Swanson and Charie Salacup. Sacha Salem and Yuna Lee of Maui Prep; Seabury’s Kalla Pellettieri, Helena Colletta and Tulip Hori; and King Kekaulike diver Lily Barrett.

Michael “Tex” Ritter of Maui Prep, who led Na Pueo to their first-ever victory in the league’s team titles, was voted MIL Coach of the Year.

Being named MIL Swimmer of the Year “means so much, I’ve been swimming for 12 or 13 years, so it means a lot to finally be able to experience this amazing moment at MIL,” Ginoza said.

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

“As strenuous as the sport was, it was always the people who made it so enjoyable,” she said. “Some of my best memories come from training trips or swim meets where we just traveled to Oahu. … I know that as we all go through the same grueling set, you have the same mindset and connection, which I think I’ll miss as I move on.”

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at [email protected]

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

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