HILLSBORO, Ore. – Aukai Kea (Mililani, Hawaii) is a member of the men's swimming and diving team, as well as the men's track and field team at Pacific.
As a senior captain, Kea reflected on his experience at Pacific by saying "I've enjoyed the last three and a half seasons as a member of this [swimming] team. This year, being that I'm a captain, has been especially fulfilling so far and I'm excited to conclude my endeavors in competitive swimming here."
Kea describes a first-year injury as a defining moment in his collegiate career, but not for the reasons one may think. "After breaking my leg halfway through my freshman season, I was able to watch, from a bystander's perspective, the way that my teammates at the time supported each other throughout competitions," he said. "It was in these moments I realized that the comradery found in sports is unparalleled."
Aside from the comradery and team environment Kea says defined his collegiate experience, he says swimming has taught him how to endure difficult challenges, both in and out of the pool. "Swimming isn't notorious for being fun," he said. "We're often questioned about our sanity as we stare at the bottom of a pool for countless hours and subject ourselves to intense physical demands. It is through this difficulty, though, that I'm able to persevere through trials outside of the pool. Whether it'd be in school, work, or life in general, I know I'll have the capacity to attain great things despite the effort that's required to do so."
Aside from competing as a dual-sport athlete and majoring in Finance, Kea works for Pacific as a member of the Business Development Team. "Under this job title my coworkers and are responsible for the construction of business plans that help facilitate the development of innovative projects, such as apps, products, etc.," he said.
"I also competed in javelin throwing last year for the school's track & field team; because it was my first season I was able to learn a lot and I look forward to competing again next semester," said Kea. In his first year of competition, his career-best performance came with a second-place finish at the Linfield Erik Anderson Icebreaker with a throw of 52.92 meters.
To Kea, competing at the NCAA Division III level means "striving for excellence doesn't have to occur at the 'highest level'." He also notes that Division III provides more opportunities for success and personal achievement. "Excellence is judged subjectively, so attaining goals that are impactful to you, despite whatever standards are present in your respective sport, should be considered a major victory."
Kea says his biggest role model is his little brother, Kahiau. "That might be strange as he's younger than me," he said, "but throughout his 15-and-a-half years he's developed into someone that I'm proud to call my sibling and I can't wait to see what he accomplishes as he matures."
Kea and the Boxers will compete next at the Bruin Invite, hosted by George Fox, this Saturday.
Twitter: @northwestconf | Instagram: @northwestconf | Facebook: /northwestconf