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18-Year-Old Sets Record In Molokai Channel Swim

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"Back in the Day," appearing every Sunday, takes a look at articles that ran on this date in history in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The items appear verbatim, so don’t blame us today for yesteryear’s bad grammar.

Last summer Jonathan Ezer wanted to swim the Molokai Channel, but this mother wouldn’t let him.

This year, when he turned 18 and his mother couldn’t stop the try, Ezer started training in earnest. First, 6,000 yard swims at Ala Moana Beach, then eight-mile workouts off Sandy Beach.

Hawaii’s swimming dentist Harold Huffaker, who set the record (13 1/2 hours) two years ago, told Ezer not to try it if he couldn’t make a special 18-mile course he had mapped out.

Ezer and a friend made the first three miles, but were then chased by sharks.

But yesterday Ezer swam the channel, set a new unofficial record and became the youngest person to make the 25.2-mile crossing from Molokai to Oahu.

He estimates he actually swam 28 to 30 miles in 13 hours and 4 minutes. At first, when he started from Laau Point, Molokai, Ezer said the currents were with him, but later as he neared Sandy Beach on Oahu, the tide changed.

"I got sort of ticked off when everybody kept saying ‘just five more miles.’ They said that for about two hours — that sort of stuff wears away at your mental concentration," Ezer said.

"About 1,000 yards out, I just put my head down and didn’t pick it up until I hit the shore," he said. "We were going for the record … but now the accomplishment of what we did is just starting to sink in. I swam the channel without stopping or holding on."

"You only get crazy like that one or twice in your life, and I think I just used up my craziness."

Ezer, a City lifeguard, is a former member of the Kalani High School swim team and had swum with the Manoa Swim Club. Ezer also holds the record for the Waikiki Rough Water Swim.


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