Hawaiian swimmers were some of the best Olympic performers from the 1910s through the '50s. In addition to a famous name like Duke Kahanamoku, there have been many others from Hawaii to win Olympic swimming medals. The list below takes a look at some of the best and their career accomplishments:
Duke Kahanamoku: Kahanamoku captured five Olympic medals. He earned gold in the 100-meter freestyle twice-at the 1912 and 1920 Summer Olympic Games. He won another gold in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay in 1920, and had won silver in the same relay in 1912. Demonstrating his skill and longevity, he finished second in 1924 for another silver-this time in the 100-meter freestyle-at the age of 34.
Kahanamoku undoubtedly lost chances for more medals with the cancellation of the 1916 Games due to World War I. Also, the number of swimming events at the time was limited. Nevertheless, he remains one of the all-time best competitive swimmers in history. He was honored with induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame(ISHOF) in 1965.
Samuel Kahanamoku: A younger brother of the famous Duke, Samuel was an accomplished swimmer in his own right who was overshadowed by his sibling and another American swimming star in Johnny Weismuller. Samuel was able to win a bronze in the 100-meter freestyle at the 1924 Games, finishing behind gold medalist Weismuller and his elder brother in the silver medal spot.
Yoshinobu Oyakawa: A Hawaiian with Japanese heritage, Oyakawa was a backstroke specialist. He earned a gold-medal podium finish at the 1952 Games in Helsinki with a victory in the 100-meter backstroke. He was honored with a selection into the ISHOF in 1973.
Ford Konno: Another Hawaiian whose forebears emigrated from Japan, Konno was a very successful Olympian, winning a total of four medals. He took gold in the 1500-meter freestyle and the 4x200 meter freestyle relay in 1952, and added a silver in the 400-meter freestyle. He capped off his impressive Olympic career with a second silver, this time in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay.
A member of the ISHOF from 1973, Konno held various national and world records during his career in freestyle at distances ranging from 200 meters to 1500 meters, and is an underappreciated American swimmer from the '50s.
Evelyn Kawamoto: Kawamoto makes it a trio of Hawaiians on this list with family roots extending back to Japan. She was a member of the U.S. Olympic team at the 1952 Games due to her talents in freestyle races. Kawamoto won an individual bronze in the 400-meter freestyle, and a relay bronze in the 4x100 meter event. She later married the aforementioned Ford Konno.
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