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Lanikai wins third straight AAA title

By Kyle Sakamoto

LAST UPDATED: 10:29 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

The Lanikai Canoe Club has completed a turning of the tide in the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association.

Lanikai won its third consecutive AAA division title Sunday at the John D. Kaupiko Regatta at Keehi Lagoon.

"We train to improve as the season goes on. We try to improve every race," Lanikai head coach Jimmy Bruhn said. "We want to peak at the proper time. We don't want to peak too early."

Lanikai finished with 90 points to win a tightly contested AAA division (27-39 crews). Kailua, which won the first three regattas of the season, finished second with 84 and Hui Nalu, which won a regatta-high nine races, came in third with 81.

"The competition is fierce — Hui Nalu, Kailua; it's fun racing," Bruhn said.

Lanikai won the mixed novice B, girls 15, men freshman, men sophomore, women junior, men senior, senior men masters 50 and men masters 40 events.

Scott Freitas, the steersman on the winning senior men masters 50 crew, said Lanikai is on the right track with three weeks to go until the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association State Championship at Hanakaoo Beach Park on Maui. "We've been trying to build to this point," Freitas said. "We are right where we want to be as far as getting a good momentum going into the state championship."

Last season, Lanikai claimed the HCRA State Championship at Keehi Lagoon by edging Kailua 342-341.

Keahiakahoe finished with 38 points Sunday to win the AA division (14-26 crews). Hui Lanakila was a close second with 36 and Leeward Kai placed third with 23.

Waikiki Surf Club won the A division (13 or fewer) with 14 points, followed by Waimanalo with 3 and Anuenue with 2.

Lanikai continued its perfect run in the 1½-mile men senior race, finishing in 10:51.27. Hui Lanakila placed second in 11:13.26 and Outrigger finished third in 11:19.82. Lanikai has won all six men senior races this season.

"So far it's been a pretty good year for us to this point," crew member Jim Foti said. "We're trying to keep it alive."

Members of Lanikai's winning crew Sunday were Matt Crowley, Ryan Dolan, Kekoa Bruhn, Aaron Creps, Michael Beyer and Foti.

"We've got a lot of players moving in and out," Foti said. "We have a real deep field. Nobody has a real secure seat."

Hui Nalu won the 1½-mile women senior race in 12:55.34. Hui Lanakila placed second in 13:10.17 and Outrigger came in third in 13:11:79.

Members of Hui Nalu's winning crew were Claire Townsend, Jaimie Kinard, Madi Minkel, Brenan Guyol, Leslie Fabish and Denise Darval-Chang.

"We had a little bit of a slow start, but we kind of started to move a bit on the upwind pieces (return trips). We started to click," Kinard said.

Hui Nalu won the women senior event for the first time since the season-opening regatta June 5.

"We just have so many women at Hui Nalu, so we're just trying to work together, figure out some of our best crews from week to week. It just happened to work this week," said Kinard, who has paddled on Hui Nalu's women senior crew three times this season.

The OHCRA championship will be next Sunday at Keehi Lagoon.

Hui Wa'a's championship is Saturday at Keehi Lagoon. The association finished its regular season at Waikiki Beach on Sunday with Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i easily winning the AAA division with 79 points over Kaneohe (43).

Host Waikiki Beach Boys finished second overall with 44 points, edging Lokahi (43) for the AA title The A title went to Manu O Ke Kai (37) and Kamehameha second (27).

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