Palenapa Twins- Swimmers To Attend Air Force Academy
MADISON- Jake and Joe Palenapa are fraternal twins and like most twins have followed each other through an array of projects, sports and school. The seniors at Bob Jones just completed their final season on the Patriots’ swim team and now will follow their dreams of flying jet planes as they will attend the Air Force Academy.
“Being at the Air Force Academy is the best place to be as I want to be in the air as a pilot and I plan on having a career in the military,” said Joe, younger twin by one minute.
“I’ve always been fascinated by planes as our family used to fly to Hawaii several times to visit family,” said Jake. “When our parents found out we both wanted to be pilots they said we could fly them out to Hawaii.”
As seniors, the twins helped the Bob Jones swim team to a seventh place finish at the 2020 Alabama High School Athletic Association’s State Swim Meet. Joe handled the 200-meter freestyle and 100m butterfly events while Jake concentrated on the 200m IM and breastroke races. Both participated in the boys 200m and 400m freestyle relays. They were selected as team captains and received the equal amount of votes from team members.
“They were two of the best overall student-athletes I have ever coached,” said Wade Thaxton, head coach of the Bob Jones swim program.
Heading into the final weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, Joe has a 4.8 grade point average that ranks him No. 20 in the Patriots’ senior class while Jake has a 3.96 GPA and No. 23 among the seniors. Joe was also accepted to West Point, but knew the Air Force is what his future should be contrived of. Both have been part of the ROTC program at Bob Jones and serve on the ROTC Honor Guard.
“Swimming is what I do and many coaches at Bob Jones and with the Madison Swim Association have led me physically to be better and I was pretty decent at the strokes in the pool,” said Joe.
Jake added, “I wasn’t the best starting out, but I stuck with it and I was with friends and through everything we go through as swimmers we became a swim family.”
The Palenapa twins are well-rounded young men as Joe can play the piano while Jake is proficient in playing the violin and self-taught with the ukulele. Add the fact they have both built model airplanes to help learn the engineering aspects of flying and you have brothers who are close in many ways.
The sons of Jay and Yulie Palenapa will be featured in an extended article in the upcoming March issue of the Madison Living Magazine, which is available throughout Madison.