Reyes of Kaunakakai fails to qualify for Olympics in 100-meter swim event

Ilia’s mother Louann created this banner to support his efforts to qualify at the Olympic Trials. Louann and Fred Reyes live in Kaunakakai. Ilia has been living on Oahu to train with his former UH swim coach Victor Wales.

Ilia Reyes’ dream of making the U.S. Olympic Swim Team in the 100-meter freestyle event came to an end yesterday in the qualifying race at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb.

Even with the world’s greatest swimmer Michael Phelps dropping from the 100-meter event, Reyes was not able to qualify for the semifinals as a top-16 finisher. The Kaunakakai boy finished his swim Thursday morning in 51.81 seconds, good enough for 134th out of 165 swimmers. Scott Robinson had the fastest qualifying time of 49.08 in the event.

Reyes, 22, the best competitive swimmer to come out of Molokai, will have one more chance to make the team tomorrow when he swims in the 50-meter freestyle event.

Reyes served as captain of the University of Hawaii men’s swim team last year before graduating. It was during his senior year at UH that he swam a 100-meter Olympic Trials qualifying time. It was the summer before his junior year at UH in 2009 that Reyes broke the Hawaii record in the 50-meter event and qualified for the Olympic trials by making the cut — 23.49 seconds — in that event.

Although he got his start swimming laps at Cooke Memorials Pool, Reyes had to leave Kaunakakai as an 11-year-old to attend Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama in order to train as a competitive swimmer.


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