Categorized | Featured, Sports, Swimming

Steve Borowski to be inducted into Waterman Hall of Fame

Steve Borowski congratulates his swimmer (photo courtesy of Jennifer Stabrylla).

Steve Borowski congratulates his swimmer (photo courtesy of Jennifer Stabrylla).

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

On June 24, The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame announced the induction of five notable kamaaina in the 2013 class of honorees for their lifetime of achievements and remarkable contribution to Hawaii’s waterman legacy.

The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame Awards Dinner is Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Outrigger Canoe Club and is presented by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) and Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kona’s Steve Borowski will stand among those honored as a champion swimmer, dedicated coach and charitable community leader.

Others to be honored include:

* Tommy Conner – Renowned steersman, paddling coach, and innovative canoe designer

* Linda Kaiser – First person and only woman to swim all nine Hawaii ocean channels

* Bill Smith – Olympic swimming gold medalist and pioneering water safety director

* China Uemura – Longboard surfing champion and devoted youth, community supporter

This will be the fourth hall of fame to hang Borowski’s name. He has already been inducted into halls of fame for: Hawaii Swimming, Illinois Water Polo and Chicago High School sports.

Steve Borowski (photo courtesy of Jennifer Stabrylla).

Steve Borowski (photo courtesy of Jennifer Stabrylla).

Borowski holds honors in swimming and water polo and holds various leadership positions in the community — most prominently as a coach.

His involvement in the water world also extends to ocean sports like free diving, body surfing and spearfishing. Recently he hung up the spear for a camera to capture images instead of fish. His passion for water embraces almost every water-related activity.

Borowski has been involved with water sports for more than 60 years. He started swimming competitively at age 4. By age 14, he was a national record holder in the 100-meter butterfly. In high school and college he was an All-American in swimming and water polo. At Indiana University he was part of the 1st and 2nd ever NCAA Swimming Championship teams.

At 50, Steve was the fastest in the world in his age division, setting several world, national and state records in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly.

At 55, Steve was again the fastest in the world, setting world, national and state records in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle and the 50-meter and 100-meter butterfly events. At the 2002 National Masters Swimming Championship at the University of Hawaii pool, Borowski competed and coached the Hawaii team of more than 90 masters swimmers to an overall victory.

Borowski earned Bachelor and Master degrees in Physical Education with an emphasis in Psychology. He has used his knowledge and experience to guide swimmers to success.

His coaching career started at Indiana University as an assistant coach with the legendary Dr. James Counsilman. Since then, he has coached, Olympic world record holders, winners of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, masters swimming champions and more than 50 High School All-Americans.

Borowski has coached teams in Hawaii and abroad: Punahou High School, the University of Hawaii Men’s swim team, the United States National Swim Team, the Kealakehe High School Swim Team, Kona Masters Swimming among others. Borowski also founded swim teams in Hawaii: in 1993, the Kona Aquatics — the first age-group team in Kona — Kona Masters Swimming.

Eight years later, he started the Kealakehe High School Swim Team.

He led Punahou boys and girls to 13 consecutive State Championships and the Kealakehe High School Swim team to the school’s only state championship.

Swimmers worldwide come to “Coach Steve” for lessons. One of his real strengths is his ability to improve the technique of every athlete that comes to him. He does this out of the pure joy of sharing his knowledge and passion for the water.

As well as founding teams, he has established and organized competitions. His positions have included organizer of the International Swimming Championship Meet for more than 20 countries boycotting the Moscow Summer Olympics, race director for Ironman Championships, and founder and race director of the Kings’ Swim.

Borowski also supports the community outside of competitive swimming. He has supported the growth of a healthy Hawaii community with the Kona Family YMCA as general director for three years and as founder of “Y Not Tri” triathlete training program for kids and young adults.

For 16 years, he has held a “Swimming 101” weekly class to teach adults to swim. In the past 10 years, he has charged nothing for the class.

He was on the committee that started the “Friends for Fitness Program” that promotes programs for youth and adult fitness in Kona.

Borowski has also learned about the structures that support water sports. He is also an aquatic facilities design specialist and oversaw the construction of the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatics Center at the University of Hawaii. And as a board member of “Ancient Ocean Ways” he seeks to perpetuate traditional methods and materials used to make Polynesian canoes.

Even though he has been offered prestigious positions as National Team Swim Coach for Australia, Hong Kong, and Monaco, Borowski turned each of them down to continue to live and swim in Hawaii. He has proven his dedication as a Hawaii waterman.

In addition to recognizing the Hall of Fame honorees, the evening under the stars at Waikiki Beach will feature a special performance by Henry Kapono and music from Maunalua.

Tim Guard, awards dinner co-chairman, said, “It will be a beautiful, festive evening as Hawaii’s waterman community shows their aloha to these five distinguished champions and says mahalo for their commitment to excel and help others in our islands.”

Table sponsorships seating eight are offered for $3,500, $2,500, and $1,200, with individual seats at $100 each. Net proceeds will benefit ODKF’s college scholarships and athletic grants program. Tickets and information are at www.DukeFoundation.org.

The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame was initiated in 2010 to create a lasting tribute to the Hawaiian Islands’ water sports legacy and honor the achievements of Hawaii’s standout watermen and waterwomen. The criteria used to select inductees are:

* Keiki o ka aina / keiki o ke kai

* Sustained outstanding contribution to the sport

* International, national and local accomplishment and recognition

Past Hall of Fame honorees are: Duke Kahanamoku, Eddie Aikau, Wally Froiseth, Fred Hemmings, Buffalo Keaulana, Rabbit Kekai, Keo Nakama, Nappy Napoleon, Rell Sunn, Peter Cole, Ethel Kukea, Aileen Soule, Nainoa Thompson, Ricky Grigg, Archie Kalepa, Brian Keaulana, Michael Tongg, and the four surfing alii of the Royal Family of Hawaii, Prince David Kawänanakoa, Prince Edward Keliiahonui, Prince Jonah Kühiö Kalanianaole, and Princess Victoria Kaiulani.

ODKF is a public, nonprofit foundation with the mission to financially support individuals and organizations perpetuating the spirit and legacy of Duke Kahanamoku.

ODKF has awarded college scholarships and athletic grants of approximately $2 million to 1,349 Hawaii individuals and nonprofit organizations in water sports and volleyball since its formation in 1986, including $150,000 to 72 recipients in 2013.

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