College report: Kometani claims conference gold for Lewis and Clark

KAILUA-KONA — Kassie Kometani saved her best for last.

Competing in her final swim meet with Lewis & Clark College, Kometani made a last push in the 100 freestyle to claim her first gold medal at the Northwest Conference Championship.

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The Kohala graduate also broke two previous school relay records at the conference meet and added a third record for good measure while leading her team to its best performance in the four years she has been apart of the Pioneers team.

“Each year we scored more points than the previous year and we had more people make the top finals,” Kometani said. “This was an awesome way to finish my career.”

Kometani needed a little extra push to claim her first conference gold. She was in third place at the halfway point of the race and remained there until the final lap.

“I was seeded second and knew I had a good chance, but the field was competitive. It was anyone’s race,” Kometani said. “In the last lap it ran through my mind that this was my last race ever and it gave me a burst of adrenaline. I came home as hard as I could and touched the wall first.”

The Lewis & Clark senior also re-broke her school best time in the 400 freestyle relay and 800 freestyle relay. She first set her 400 relay time in 2017 and was the only member of that team to be apart of the group that broke it again this year.

“It is pretty awesome and some of the girls on the relay team are freshmen and will have a chance to break it again,” Kometani said. “The team is getting faster every year.”

Kometani is a four-time Northwest All-Conference First Team member and a three-time All-Conference scholar athlete. She plans on going to a law school after graduating in May.

“It was great going to a college and getting an education at a school that prioritizes academics,” Kometani said.

Kometani plans on being an environmental lawyer. She credits growing up on the Big Island as her motivation.

“I attribute it to my upbringing, 100 percent,” Kometani said. “Being surrounded by beautiful landscapes, I have an appreciation for nature and a desire to protect it.”

Kometani wants to eventually work for a non-profit or a small organization that is “on the ground.” She wants to get into lobbying as well, to help create the laws that protect the environment.

“I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of law schools,” she said. “Lewis & Clark has a strong law program and is my first choice.”

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Lewis & Clark is an NCAA Division III college located in Portland, Oregon.

Kometani was an All-BIIF swimmer at Kohala and was the school’s first female league swim champion. She graduated in 2015 as co-valedictorian. Kometani was also a recipient of the prestigious Roy Fujimoto Senior Scholarship.

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