John and Kevin Flanagan are co-head coaches of the Kamehameha Swim Club in Hawaii. They’re also brothers. But this week, with the BCS National Championship game between Auburn and Florida State looming, the duo is dealing with a little more sibling rivalry than usual.
See, John swam at Auburn in the late 90s and was a part of Auburn’s first of many NCAA titles in 1997. Kevin, meanwhile, was an All-American for FSU, even breaking an ACC record for the Seminoles.
As Kamehameha Swim Club arrived at the Kona Community Aquatic Center in search of its 23rd straight state title, a practical joke between brothers was quietly developing.
During the first prelims session, former Seminole Kevin walked on deck, only to be greeted by a sea of burnt orange and navy blue – his brother John, with the help of some team parents and Auburn coach Brett Hawke, had purchased enough official Auburn swim caps for all 86 Kamehameha swimmers.
The team wore the caps for the entire session, an entertaining prank for swimmers and spectators and a wonderful reminder of the good-natured rivalry mindset that makes sports so great.
John and Kevin will be watching the national championship game live at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where Kevin will hope his Seminoles can win and give him the last laugh in this chapter of the on-going brotherly rivalry. One thing’s for certain, though. No matter the football game outcome, both men will have something to be happy about – their Kamehameha Swim Club did repeat as Hawaii state champs for the 23rd consecutive season.