Flags Ordered to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Legislator and Swimming Legend Keo Nakama

In observance of the memory of former state Representative and swimming legend Keo Nakama, Governor Neil Abercrombie today ordered that all U.S. and Hawai’i flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Friday, September 30, 2011.

Nakama began his legendary swimming career in the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Irrigation ditches in Pu’unene, Maui as a child. He attended Ohio State University, where he excelled at swimming and baseball, winning Big Ten and National Collegiate Athletic Association titles. During his swim career, he won 27 U.S. National Championships from 100 yards to 1500 meters and set the world record swim for a mile at 20:29. Nakama was the first person to swim completely across the 27-mile Kaiwi Channel from Moloka’i to O’ahu, an accomplishment completed in 15.5 hours.

Nakama also served as a Hawai’i high school swim coach, teacher and athletic director before being elected to the Hawai’i State House of Representatives, where he served for five terms until 1974. Nakama was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

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