Oahu, HAWAII-The last time seventeen year old Alena Alumbaugh visited her relatives in Chuuk was when she was a year old. Since then she has become an accomplished swimmer and hopes to be offered an athletic scholarship for her achievements.
Alumbaugh is a senior at Kaiser High School in East Oahu. The Kaiser water polo team competes in the Oahu Interscholastic Association East Division. The team has a 4-2 record this season as of April 7 and team members hope to make it to the state water polo tournament. If they do it would be the first time for the Kaiser team to compete in the state tournament.
"I am hoping we make it this year," Alumbaugh told the East Oahu Islander in an interview, "I think we've been doing good. If we keep practicing, we'll get better and better. This is the best year we've had since I've been here, so I think we're pretty strong."
Besides water polo, Alumbaugh is also a year round swimmer for the Kamehameha Swim Club.
"When I was seven years old I started swimming in California," she said. "Then we moved to Oahu, Hawaii where my best friend Kehau Ai introduced me to water polo when I was about 13 years old. I like swimming and water polo a lot because they are both excel-lent exercise, but water polo is more enjoyable because it's a team sport."
"I defi nitely like the competition and the adrenaline I get before a swimming race or a water polo game," she said. "Also after doing either swimming or water polo, I feel healthy and rejuvenated if it was a good workout. For swimming, my times motivate me to bet better, as well as my Kamehameha Swim Club coaches, and my teammates. In water polo, my friends, teammates, Kaiser High School coaches and family motivate me."
Alumbaugh hasn't yet decided on what career she might like to choose. Right now she thinks she might be interested in Nursing, Writing, or Business. She's currently considering U.H. Manoa, Hawaii Pacifi c University, and Chaminade University because she said she wants to stay close to home for at least the first two years and because those schools offer majors for the career paths she might choose.
But she also wants to make it easier to for her parents, Richard and Dee Alumbaugh to pay for her college and would probably take an Athletic Scholarship if it is offered. Her father serves in the U.S. Coast Guard and is stationed in Hawaii.
When asked if there is anyone that she would like to thank for her success Alena said, "God, for blessing me with everything I have and all the opportunities I've been able to have a chance at, and my big wonderful family of course for supporting me in everything I do."
Her parents were asked which of their daughter's accomplishments have brought them the most joy. "Her academic achievements of being on the honor roll, her commitment to helping out the church community, and MVP two years in a row and Team Captain on both the swimming and water polo teams," they said. "She is a true leader. She also teaches children swimming during the summer break."
Alena said that she and her brother Victor are thinking about trying to swim for the Federated States of Micronesia in the Olympics.