Lillie Elizabeth Bowmer Mackenzie, one of Hawaii’s all-time swimming greats, joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in March 1920 and swam for OCC from 1920 to 1930. She was a prodigy of the late George “Dad” Center, Hawaii’s swimming coach and long-time Club member. “Dad” coached her both at Punahou and OCC.
During her ten years of competitive swimming, Lillie competed in the following events: diving, freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, relays and open water ocean races. She won 39 gold, 21 silver, and 12 bronze medals plus a galaxy of ribbons and trophies. She competed in Senior National swimming meets in 1926 (Florida) and 1928 (New York).
She set four world records:
- In 1921 her OCC Relay Team broke the world record in the 100-yard open water course in 4:45 2/5. Teammates were Estelle Cassidy, Ruth Scudder and Helen Moses. Lillie swam the anchor leg.
- In 1923 she broke the world record in the 50 yard freestyle dash in 28 seconds.
- In 1926 she set the world record for the 50 yard freestyle dash in 27 seconds.
- In 1928 she set a world record in the 100 meter freestyle event.
A young mother by the 1928 Olympics, Mackenzie, traveled from Honolulu to New York for pre-Olympic trials. She qualified for and swam in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke events but failed to make the Olympic team. Lillie also paddled canoes and surfed at OCC.
Lillie was given an Honorary/Life Membership in the Outrigger Canoe Club by the Board of Directors in the 1920s for her swimming feats, and was re-named to Life Membership in 1964 when the criteria was changed.