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WSC History

Hawaii's Original Ocean Swimming Club

In the beginning... there was the ocean at Waikiki. Then in 1970, Jim Cotton put on the first rather primitive Waikiki Rough Water Swim and 35 or so local early-day swimmers showed up. This led to the 2nd such swim and 100 showed up and it was apparent this was an event whose time had come. Jim sent out a proposal to form a beach swimming club to all who entered the 2nd swim and voila: the Waikiki Swim Club (WSC). See the original members list (pdf). Natalie Naugle Mahoney and Bobbie Jennings, both still with us at this writing (2012), were major helpers in the start up with their energy and public relations skills. Jim Welch was the "poster adult" of the Club with his fast times, good looks, personality and leadership. He was President after Cotton. By 1972/73 the Maui Channel Swim and a long course pool meet were added to make a Labor Day Weekend a tri-event for the sudden interest of the many robust Californians who gloried in the idea of coming to Hawaii for massive amounts of swimming.

WSC's energy and resonance with the public was based on the principle of "Lifetime Virorous Swimming for Fun, Sport and Health". The traditional 2K swim at Ala Moana was established when the Club installed two spar buoys along the course and for 15 years, rain or shine, the club has been there every Saturday morning*. In 1972, WSC initiated a program for Masters pool meets and the first contingent of Hawaiian Masters journeyed to the national meet in San Mateo under the WSC banner. Bylaws were drawn up in 1974 and, while the Club remained a sponsor, the operation of the Roughwater Swim was turned over to the City & County of Honolulu.

By 1976, there were two registered masters swim clubs in Hawaii and in an effort to send one unified relay team to Nationals the club supported the idea of forming a special affiliation so that all Hawaiian swimmers could compete together regardless of their club membership. With 10 years of foresight, the name chosen was our State fish the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. To this day, WSC continues the tradition of hosting Masters meets and most swimmers continue to be registered under the "Humu" banner. The unifying spirit and the special recognition that the Humu name brought to Hawaiian Masters swimming endeared the fish that "grunts like a pig" to the hearts of many WSC members and soon it became the uno"fish"al mascot of the Club.

Through the many talents and ambitions of its members, Waikiki Swim Club has been instrumental in establishing new and unusual sporting events, such as the original Ironman, Oahu's first biathlon (now renamed the Magic Island Biathlon), and the Humu relays, the nation's first postal meet. The club also founded the Rabbit Island Swim, the North Shore Challenge, Kailua-Popoi'a Swim, The January 1st Pro Swim, and continues its suppport of the Maui Channel Relays. Along with an annual awards banquet and several social events, Waikiki Swim Club remains a vital force in adult swimming.

--WSC History recounted by Jim Cotton and Andrea Woods

* There is no organized Saturday swim at Ala Moana Beach Park at this time.

Past Presidents of Waikiki Swim Club

1971-72Jim Cotton
1973-74Jim Welch
1975Fred Trask
1976Bruce Clark
1977Nancy Ryan
1978Dave Drum
1979Judy Collins
1980Bob Justman
1981Carin Vanderbush
1982-83Ian Emberson
1984-85Terri Frank
1986Christine Andrews
1987Peter Morton
1988-89Andrea Woods
1990-91Chris Moore
1992Kay Harrison
1993Ted Sheppard
1994-95Joe Scheper
1996-97Dennis Blake
1998Ernie Leskovitz
1999-2000Jim & Pat Wiencke
2001Chris Cox
2002Marie Wagner
2003Cheryl Henry
2004Ainslie Mackovjak
2005-06Geno Godinet
2007-12Laurie Foster
2013-17Jane Stites
2018-2022Allan Six
2023-presentKelly Quin