Keahi Horowitz: man or machine?

Call me out of touch, but I was completely unaware that Portland State had a competitive swimming team. Perhaps my ignorance can be forgiven, since Portland State doesn’t have a collegiate team.

Call me out of touch, but I was completely unaware that Portland State had a competitive swimming team. Perhaps my ignorance can be forgiven, since Portland State doesn’t have a collegiate team. What we do have is a group of student swimmers who participate in a swimming club at Campus Rec. These student swimmers often times go off to compete with student groups from other schools, and it turns out that our team isn’t too shabby either. 

In fact, the Portland State student group recently took third place in the small teams category of the Oregon Masters Swimming Association Championships, which took place over April 2 and 3 at Mt. Hood Community College. The term “masters” will be referred to repeatedly in this article and it should be noted that in this context “masters” really means anyone who is college-age or older.

At this particular meet, Portland State was represented by 20-year-old Keahi Horowitz. Keahi competed in numerous events, earning first place in many them. When all the points were tallied up, Keahi had secured a third place victory for Portland State in the small teams category. Other schools represented at the championships included the University of Oregon and Portland Community College. There were also several community-based teams, such as Clackamas and Tualatin Hills.

Keahi has had a long love affair with swimming, receiving his first lesson at age six. Unlike the average kid who simply learns how to not drown, Keahi tells me that he benefited from the experience of having an excellent, technically skilled coach early on. His coach didn’t just teach him how to doggie paddle; rather, he trained his young student to swim like an athlete. From that point on, Keahi was hooked.

Keahi continued swimming throughout elementary school, middle school and high school. After enrolling in Portland State, Keahi hooked up with the masters swim program at Campus Rec. He continued to hone his skills through swimming workouts supplemented with what swimmers call “dry land” training at the Campus Rec facilities. For all the landlubbers out there, “dry land” training is any training that takes place outside of the pool, such as weight training.

Keahi tries to utilize in-water workouts as often as his schedule allows, focusing on completing a certain distance under a certain time limit. When he’s not in the pool, Keahi uses explosive weight training movements with moderate poundages in order to maintain his strength and muscle mass.

The masters swim program at Portland State currently has around 10 members, all of them of varying skill levels. The group has veteran swimmers like Keahi, but also has members who just learning the ropes. The group provides a welcoming atmosphere with structured workouts and coaching to student swimmers. Keahi tells me that one of the best things about the Portland State group and the meets is the emphasis on personal achievement rather than competition.

On his recent victory, Keahi tells me, “I wasn’t trying to beat the person next to me. I was trying to beat the clock on the wall.”

Throughout our visit together, Keahi couldn’t say enough positive things about the Portland State masters swim program and the facilities at Campus Rec. He encourages anyone with an interest in swimming to come give the program a try. He also noted that the program would also be excellent for those interested in using swimming as a part of a cross-training routine. The first month in the program is free of charge, and only $15 a month after that, so curious readers have nothing to lose by giving the masters swim program a go. ?

For more information on Portland State’s masters swim program, visit or contact the aquatics student coordinator, Whitney Church, at [email protected]

Practice times are from 5:10 – 6:20 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 12 – 1 p.m. on Fridays.

For more information on Oregon Masters Swimming  and upcoming meets, visit

For more information on U.S. Masters Swim,  visit