Hall of Fame: Harold Miller Sexton, M.D. (1933)

Born and raised in Hilo, Harold entered Punahou in his freshman year and immediately joined the swimming team. At the time, there was only one opportunity each year to make one’s letter in swimming – the annual ILH Yale Championship meet, and competition was fierce. Harold made his first letter in his junior year when he placed fourth in the 150-yard individual medley event. That same year he won the Dawkins Benny Trophy – first, boys under 18 – in the Outrigger Canoe Club’s Annual Distance Swim.This article appears as originally published in the Summer 1994 issue of the Punahou Bulletin.

In his senior year Harold was captain of the swimming team, starring in the 220-yard freestyle (1st), the 150-yard medley, and relay events. In that year’s Hawaiian AAU meet, he placed 2nd in the 440-yard freestyle event against Hawaii’s top swimmers. He set a record also at the Waikiki Natatorium in the annual Star Bulletin Junior Mile event.

At Menlo Junior College (1934 – 35) he captained both the swimming and water polo teams and was rated the second best 440-yard freestyle swimmer in Northern California. Transferring to the University of Oregon, he continued to star, and in 1936 and 1937 was rated one of the top 440-yard swimmers on the U.S. west coast. He competed in the 1936 Olympic tryouts and was only narrowly defeated by famous Olympian Jack Medica.

Harold obtained his medical degree in 1941 from Tufts University and served as a Naval medical officer during WWII. Returning to Hawaii he enjoyed a long and prominent career as one of Honolulu’s top pediatricians, retiring in 1980. In 1975, being overweight and suffering from cardiac rhythm problems, he was convinced he should go back to swimming. After three months of training and 25 pounds lighter, he started to compete in Masters short- and long-distance meets. Following are highlights of his remarkable achievements: 1975 through 1993 (19 years): Rated among the Top Ten National master Swimmers achieving All-American honors year after year. 1974 – 1985: Broke 21 and established three new national records. 1980: World Medical Games – Cannes, France (six events): Won three first, two second and one third place finishes. 1981: National AAU Meet: first in 100, 200, 500 and 1650-yard freestyle events. 1990: National AAU Meet: first, 100 meters.

Following hip replacement surgery in 1992 which had been hampering his performance, he led his age group in the 1993 Outrigger Canoe Club’s annual Invitational Distance Swim.

An avid Punahou supporter, he is often called upon to help Punahou’s swimming programs.

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