Joined OCC: July 16, 1953
Elected to Winged “O”: February 11, 1991
Diane Stowell was the first woman elected to the Winged “O”. Her athletic honors read like a who’s who of local running and swimming competition. She usually won her age group in every event she entered and twice was named the Honolulu Quarterback Club’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year (1988, 1989) and was named one of the Honolulu Advertiser’s Top Ten Athlete’s of the Decade in 1990.
Born in Honolulu on April 27, 1934, Diane joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1953, working at a summer job to pay the $60 initiation fee. She was a swimmer at Punahou School (1949-1952) when girls weren’t supposed to participate in any other sports because the coaches were afraid they’d ruin their shoulders.
“I remember borrowing those gigantic old redwood tankers at the old Club and learning to surf. I also used to do a lot of body surfing.” After graduation from Punahou School, Diane went off to California to earn her bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a master’s degree from the University of Redlands and a credential in psychology from California State University at Fullerton. Although she came back to Hawaii each summer, it wasn’t until 1980 when Diane moved back to Hawaii that she started training for swimming competition again.
Swimming is Diane’s first love and also her forte. She holds many national and international age group records, has been a national and international age group champion many times, and holds many Hawaii State Age Group records. She was an All-American swimmer in the masters divisions many times.
Diane competed annually in the Club’s Castle Swim and won the women’s division seven times—in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990. She was also the winner of the elite division and first in her age group in the Outrigger Invitational Swim in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990. Diane finished second overall in the women’s division in the 1986 OCC Triathlon.
Her running success in numerous community competitions won her recognition as Hawaii State Runner of the Year in 1984 and 1986.
But perhaps the achievement she’s most proud of was her six Hawaii Canoe Racing Association championships for senior masters women. She earned the first one in 1985, the year she first learned to paddle, and repeated in 1986-1990. No other crew (with the same individuals in the canoe) in the history of the HCRA has won as many state championships as this crew. Diane was also on many other winning masters crews in regatta and distance races.
In 1990, Outrigger fielded its first masters crew in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai canoe race and Diane was on the winning crew. She was also on the OCC Na Wahine crew in 1991 and 1992.
Diane was one of the most competitive women in sports. It didn’t matter whether it was running, tennis, skiing, swimming or paddling. She wanted to win.
Diane served on the OCC Running Committee in 1983 and 1984 and chaired the committee in 1985. In 1986, she served as chair of the Triathlon Committee. She joined the Public Relations Committee in 1986. In 1987, Diane was elected to the Outrigger Canoe Club Board of Directors and served as Coordinating Director for Public Relations in 1987, Athletics in 1988, House in 1989, Secretary in 1990 and Vice-President for Activities and Coordinating Director for Historical in 1991.
One of Diane’s strong interests was in making it possible for young athletes to compete at higher levels in college and in national competition. To this end, she served on the Board of Directors of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation and chaired the scholarship committee for many years.
Diane passed away in June 2017.