The academic state championship Camas High School boys swimming team captured seventh place at its first 4A state meet Saturday, at the King County Aquatic Center, in Federal Way.
“This has just been an incredible season of firsts. This was our first time in 4A and our first time winning the academic award. We also had a lot of people coming up here for the first time, making it to the finals and getting up on that podium,” said senior co-captain Trent Harimoto. “It’s been an amazing four years of ups and downs, crazy experiences and memories. I’m so glad that it happened this way. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Camas racked up 130.5 points to finish in seventh place out of 37 schools. Kamiak High School, of Mukilteo, won the meet with 207 points.
The Papermakers kicked off the championship round by finishing fourth in the 200-meter medley relay. Kasey Calwell, Jake Yraceburu, Lucas Ulmer and John Utas completed the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle in a season best time of 1 minute, 38.20 seconds.
Then, all of the Camas boys walked across the bridge between the two pools to collect their academic state championship plaque. The 17 swimmers combined for a GPA of 3.62.
“To be able to say we’re the smartest team in the state is pretty cool,” Calwell said. “It shows that we are not only great swimmers in the pool, but also great students outside of the pool.”
Calwell dove right back into the pool and grabbed fourth place in the 200 individual medley (1:55.70) and the 100 breaststroke (59.96). He was the only sophomore out of the eight championship competitors in each event.
“It’s one of those defining moments to be able to break a minute in the backstroke, freestyle and the butterfly,” Calwell said. “But to finally be able to break a minute in that elusive breaststroke is truly amazing.”
It’s not easy to break a minute. Yraceburu chased that goal in the breaststroke for four years, before finally smashing through that glass ceiling Friday. The senior won his preliminary heat with a time of 59.88 seconds.
“I had never been more hyped up for a race. I just got in the water and started going,” Yraceburu said. “When I got in under a minute, I was so happy. That’s what I’ve been training for my whole career.”
Yraceburu came back Saturday and snatched seventh place in the championship race (1:00.31).
“Sure I wanted to break a minute again, but I’m still happy I got seventh,” he said. “This is just a great way to end my high school career.”
Calwell ended his exhausting day by helping Harimoto, Ulmer and Seth Albert snag seventh place in the 400 freestyle relay (3:17.26).
“I love seeing my teammates compete and getting the opportunity to stand up on that podium,” Calwell said. “That’s what I love about this sport.”
Albert, Harimoto, Utas and Xianguang Yan notched ninth place in the 200 freestyle relay (1:32.18). Ulmer earned 11th place in the 100 butterfly (52.94) and 12th place in the 100 backstroke (54.80). Utas took 13th place in the 50 freestyle (22.79) and Albert finished in 15th place in the 100 freestyle (50.64).