Swimming facilities in Clark County are getting more crowded by the minute.
Camas High School and North County swim teams head coach Mike Bemis sees more than 60 swimmers a day from Camas, Washougal, Prairie, Hockinson, Battle Ground and Woodland. It’s a lot for one coaching staff to handle, but Bemis wants to see more boys and girls getting their feet wet in a sport that seems to have no boundaries in the rainy state of Washington.
Bemis said this is one of the largest boys swimming teams has ever coached. He counts 35 athletes from Camas, 21 from Hockinson and 12 from Battle Ground, Prairie, Washougal and Woodland. Although Camas had plenty of swimmers by the time he took over the program, Bemis has watched the other North County schools gain significant numbers in the last few years. Just look at Hockinson.
“It started with three, then grew to six, and then from 6 to 12 and 12 to 21,” Bemis said. “We hope to continue to get more kids from the other schools and build those numbers out. If we could get 10 to 20 kids from each school, we could have a 100 or more in the water.”
By then, they might reach a tipping point.
“If we can get more than 100 kids out for swimming, maybe we can get another pool built in the area,” Bemis said. “If you have 100 kids out for high school swimming, which is considered the pinnacle and the top of the mountain, there are probably 200 to 250 younger kids swimming right below them. That gives you quite a base to draw from, and it just keeps growing.”
Seniors Alastair Graham, Nick Kabel and Ian Ulmer lead this year’s crop of Camas swimmers. Nathan Milojevic and Geer McGee are representing Washougal.