The Papermakers rode the waves they created to win the district title by 100 points Saturday, at Kelso High School.
“Once that buzzer goes off, you give it your all and come back the next day for finals and do it all over again,” said junior Lucas Ulmer. “I’m glad we had so many kids push through and help us with the meet. Without them, we wouldn’t have these relays and the meet records.”
Kasey Calwell, Tom Utas, Ulmer and John Utas kicked things off with a meet and school record time of 1 minute, 39.67 seconds in the 200-meter medley relay.
John Utas, Ulmer, Jeff Fadlovich and Calwell finished the day with a meet record time of 3:21.52 in the 400 freestyle relay.
“A lot of these guys started out as first-year swimmers, and at the end of the year, they’re up a team trophy,” Calwell said. “We have big goals for state. We can’t wait to go up there and achieve them.”
Camas won the five-team challenge with 414 points. Union was way back in second place with 314 points. Skyview took third with 156 points.
“We took 18 kids to districts and 16 of them contributed to our team score,” said head coach Mike Bemis. “You don’t get that kind of production very often. I’m just really proud of this group.”
Nine boys on the team are on their way to the 4A state swimming meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Friday’s preliminary round starts at 9:30 a.m. Finals begin Saturday at 10 a.m.
“There’s a bit of a learning curve at state,” Bemis said. “These kids will be going up against swimmers with All-American times. That’s why it’s important to get those experiences as soon as possible so you can build on them in the coming years.
“It’s about getting those butterflies flying in a straight line,” he added. “If you can do that, you can conquer your nerves and you’re ready to go.”
The Utas brothers grabbed the top two spots to state in the 100 freestyle. John won with a time of 49.95 seconds. Tom pushed up to second place in 51.27.
John looked up at the scoreboard and immediately high-fived his brother in the next lane. They both will never forget that moment. Neither will their teammates, coaches and parents, Dave and Marilee.
“It was just a really joyful feeling knowing we were both headed off to state,” John said.
John Utas also took first place in the 50 free (22.56). Tom Utas earned second place in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.44).
“I’ll never forget swimming against my brother,” Tom said. “He really helped me get my best times.”
Four Camas swimmers wound up in the top five of the 100 breaststroke. Calwell won with a time of 1:02.46. Tom Utas took second (1:06.44), Xiaguang Yan followed in third (1:06.76) and Joey Wunderlich finished fifth (1:08.71).
“The breaststroke dramatized how we swim with each other, for each other and against each other,” Bemis said.
Calwell also clinched first place in the 200 individual medley (1:58.56). Ulmer (56.36) and Nick Burton (1:05.97) grabbed the top two spots to state in the 100 backstroke. Ulmer also won the 100 butterfly in 55.3.
Yan, Tom Utas, Luke Albert and Colin Kuhta claimed the 200 freestyle relay district title for Camas. Yan also snagged third place in the 50 free (23.67).
Albert earned second place in the 200 free (1:56.57), and Fadlovich took in third place (1:57.12). Fadlovich also finished second in the 500 free (5:12.47), and Noah Macia notched third (5:42.01).
Max Urbanek was third in the 100 butterfly (58.66) and fifth in the 200 free (1:59.1). Kuhta snatched third in the 200 individual medley (2;15.28) and sixth in the 100 butterfly (1:03.02). Albert grabbed fifth place the 100 free (54.77). Joey Wunderlich clinched fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:18.56).
North County state qualifiers
The Hockinson boys swimming team finished in second place at the 2A district meet Saturday, at Mark Morris High School.
Cullyn Newman, Jonah Rodewald, Dylan Osborne and Will Morris finished in first place in the 200-medley relay (1:43.93) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:24.35). Both of those times are new meet records.
Newman (58.77) and Brandon Broer (1:03.61) grabbed the top two spots to state in the 100 backstroke. Newman also notched first place in the 100 freestyle (50.11). Rodewald won the 200 individual medley (2:03.96) and the 100 breaststroke (1:05.14). Osborne earned first place in the 50 freestyle (22.45) and the 100 butterfly (53.19). Morris snagged second place in the 200 freestyle (1:54.67) and the 500 freestyle (5:17.21).
Prairie High School senior Jaron Hamlik took first place in the 100 butterfly (51.61) and the 100 backstroke (53.48) at the 3A district meet Saturday, in Kelso.
The 2A and 3A state swimming meets take place at the King County Aquatic Center, in Federal Way. 2A starts at 2:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. 3A begins at 6:15 p.m. Friday and 6:30 p.m. Saturday.