Thu, Dec 30, 2021 12:07 PM

Kalani Brothers dominate the pool

Brothers Maicah, 11, and Lono, 12, won a total of 20 gold medals between them at this month’s Nelson/Marlborough long course swimming championships. Photo: Jonty Dine

Jonty Dine

They may have polar opposite personalities, but when it comes to winning in the pool, brothers Lono and Maicah Kalani have plenty in common.

The pair recently dominated the Nelson/Marlborough long course championships at Nayland Pool, winning every race and taking home a haul of twenty gold medals to add to their vast collection.

Lono won 11 golds with nine individual and two relay wins while Maicah claimed nine gold, his only loss coming in the relays.

Lono also managed to break a backstroke record which had stood for 14 years.

The boys say it was great to be back in the pool after a frustrating season of cancellations.

“It felt really good,” says Lono.

The boys have also dominated previous long course championships, winning gold in all three appearances.  

"We've got a few medals," says Lono.

The brothers share a typical sibling rivalry in the pool, though Lono is comfortably ahead in the bragging rights department.

“I have beaten him once, says Maicah, out of about 10,000 races.”

The younger Kalani says he is determined to even the ledger.

“It’s never going to happen,” jokes Lono.

After learning to swim at Riverside, the boys made the natural progression to competing.

“I like racing all my friends,” says Lono.

Their success isn’t limited to swimming, with the Kalani brothers also shining in cross-country and triathlons, while Maicah is a promising basketballer, and unlike his brother enjoys the physicality of rugby.

Having recently joined the Tasman senior swim squad, Lono is having to acclimatise to 4am starts.

Lono will attend Garin College next year while Maicah starts St Joseph’s Intermediate.

Though they have had similar success in swimming, the brothers are very different.

Lono is more laid back and relaxed while Maicah is the more animated and competitive of the pair.

Maicah hopes to play in the NBA while Lono wants to remain in New Zealand.