John Flanagan was a dominant force in the pool. As a freshman at Punahou, he helped the varsity swim team win the state championship after Kaiser High School had won the previous two. The Punahou team never lost while he was there, and Flanagan won a host of individual state championships along the way. He also ran cross country at Punahou.
Flanagan attended Auburn University and was a member of the NCAA National Championship team in 1997. In 2001, he was the National 10K open water champion and placed fourth in the world championships. He represented the United States on the national open water swim team for four years.
After retiring from swimming, he turned his attention to triathlons and worked his way up to competing in Ironman races. At the 2009 Ironman World Championships, Flanagan was the first one out of the water.
Flanagan has also enjoyed success as a coach. He and his younger brother, Kevin Flanagan ’96, are head coaches for Kamehameha Swim Club. The team has won numerous state championships under their guidance.