In observance of the memory of former state Representative and swimming legend Keo Nakama, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered all U.S. and Hawaii flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011.
Nakama began his legendary swimming career in the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Irrigation ditches in Puunene, 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 1,500 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 Molokai to Oahu, an accomplishment completed in 15.5 hours.
Nakama also served as a Hawaii high school swim coach, teacher and athletic director before being elected to the Hawaii 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 Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.