In early 1976 Cotton was recalled again to overseas service…this time in Iran. Cotton’s fine friend and finer athelete, FRED TRASK stepped forward and took over the serious job of running the Swim. He served six long years and 20 more years in taking leading support responsibilities. He moved the swim way up into a major national event. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2011 while still swimming and helping with the program up to very nearly the end.
Alan Hong & Dick Cowan
When interviewed for this history, Fred wanted to give special credit to Alan Hong for in-water operations and Dick Cowan for his pioneering work in sports computer programing and execution. So here is that promise.
Fred was modest and soft spoken. His motto was always: “Lets Get On With the Show” which he loved to say when he shoved me aside and grabbed the microphone.
In Fred's Son's Words:
Fortunately we have his son, Matt, to fill in the story:
Ultimate Family Man
"As everyone knows, the Roughwater played a big role in our family. My Dad, Fred Trask, set his calendar every year by the Labor Day event. I can remember the excitement when he found a loud canon he could use to start the race at San Souci beach. Us kids shrieked with joy when he fired that thing. Of course, my Mom only tolerated it.
Son Matthew Daughter Ellen & Grands
One time we had to find the anchor for the Hilton turn bouy. I looked down in the water from the boat we were on, and thought I could dive deep enough to reach the anchor, but it was too deep for me so one of Fred"s buddies had to dive down to reach it. I was so impressed that someone could go that deep without tanks.
We used to train as a family to get ready for the race every Saturday morning with the Waikiki Swim Club at Ala Moana beach. Dad was extremely enthusiastic about the Roughwater. He enjoyed nothing more than a challenge. Swimming the race was not enough.
He wanted the challenge of organizing it too. If he saw ways to improve the race he would do it. Always trying to improve the timing of the waves of swimmers so they would not interfere with each other and improve safety. He wanted the race to be an integral part of Hawaii [which it has become.] He believed everyone should try to swim the Roughwater.
Fred, in his prime, as a great Swimmer-Athelete
Ever since he grew up as a swimmer at Maui High, he believed that swimming was the best exercise for the body and always hoped more people would take it up as a sport. He felt volunteering as a race director and having the race run by volunteers and the City and County of Honolulu was important to keep the entry fee low enough so that more people could afford it.For many years he kept the entry fee $5.00 !
He loved nature too. I'll never forget the time he and I were practicing for the swim off Queens beach and we had to stop in mid workout to to drift above a couple of turtles who swam beneath us. It was a rare in the 70's to see turtles in those days before Waikiki became a marine preseerve.
Fred's would give best wishes for the future of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim and Waikiki Swim Club."
Mathew, his son.
So long Fred, thanks for a lifetime of friendship, your admiring friend since we met at Ala Moana beach one Sat morning in 1971.
Fred's ashes being interred in the very WRS starting leg water he loved and swam thru so furiously for so many years.
Pall Swimmers: (LtoR) Jim Cotton, son Andy, best friend Howard Shima and Kaia Hedlund