Fast times out of the gate

Young Papermaker swimmers embrace new challenges

CHS boys swimming roster

Luke Albert, Brian Andrade, Daniel Brown (Washougal), Sullivan Carrick, Maxwell Crowson, Jakob Duerfeldt, Jeff Fadlovich, Austin Fogel, Ethan Hansen, Andrey Khabibrakhmanov, Mark Kim, Aaron Le, Issac Leonard, Noah Macia, Zachary Macia, Finn McClone, Ian Pinch, Matthew Risley (Woodland), Isaah Ross (Washougal), Landon Schmid (Washougal), Danill Timchenko, Tom Utas, Eric Wu and Chris Xia.

Flooding in Longview and a landslide on I-5 postponed the first meet of the season twice, but the Papermakers just kept swimming.

When boys teams from Camas and 13 other high schools gathered for the Sprint Pentathlon Saturday, at the Dick Mealy Memorial Pool in Longview, it didn’t take long for Tom Utas and Mark Kim to set state qualifying times. Nineteen Camas swimmers qualified for districts.

“We were due for a meet, and we were hungry for a meet,” said head coach Mike Bemis.

Utas racked up 96 points to lead the field of 80 swimmers. He qualified for state in the 50-meter freestyle, with a time of 22.23 seconds, and the 100 breaststroke, in 1:01.99. The junior won both of those events, snagged first place in the 25 backstroke (13.3) and third place in the 25 butterfly (12.29).

“All of those 25-type swims are fun events. We had a bunch of kids doing different strokes,” Utas said. “I think this sets a good foundation for our team, and a standard for the times we can get going forward.”

Kim took second place overall with 93 points. He qualified for state in the 100 butterfly, with a time of 54.24 seconds, and the 100 freestyle, in 49.59 seconds. The sophomore won both of those events, took second place in the 25 backstroke (13.78) and third place in the 25 individual medley (12.83).

“It gave us a sense of what we can accomplish,” Kim said. “It was really reassuring. I think we can get a lot going with the team we have this year.”

Eric Wu rounded out the top three for the Papermakers with 87 points. The freshman finished in first place in the 200 individual medley (2:03.97), second place in the 25 butterfly (12.87) and the 25 freestyle (12.28), and third place in the 25 backstroke (13.83).

Bemis was thrilled to see the freshmen making an impact in their first high school meet. He is counting on a lot of new faces to fill the void left by graduates Kasey Calwell, Lucas Ulmer and John Utas. Calwell and Ulmer shared three state championships. They also led the Papermakers to second place at state, which is the program’s highest finish in school history.

“They were the cornerstone of the team, but they also told us we had to step up after they left,” Kim said. “They raised the bar. The motivation for us to reach for it and keep climbing is really high.”

Kim gained a bulk of knowledge while swimming on the relays with last year’s seniors. He said it helped him rise to fifth place at state in the 500 freestyle.

“It was quite an experience as a freshman. I was lucky to be on the team with those fast seniors,” Kim said. “It really gave me a vision of what I can do this year, and the years to come.”

Noah Macia is the only senior on the team. He serves as a captain, along with juniors Luke Albert and Tom Utas.

“Noah is a great swimmer. I can put him anywhere and know he is going to give me his best effort,” Bemis said. “He is also a great leader in practice, and that’s what we need from our only senior.”

Utas has become good friends with Albert and Macia through swimming. Now, it’s time for them to help mold new prospects.

“I want to set a positive example and help build a team that is going to do well at state,” Utas said. “You’re racing for more than just yourself, you’re racing for the betterment of other people. It’s a real friendly environment.”

Three Washougal swimmers join Camas program

Isaah Ross is the first Washougal High School swimmer to qualify for the state meet.

The sophomore earned second place in the 200 individual medley at the Sprint Pentathlon Saturday, in Longview. He finished with a state qualifying time of 2:10.53.

Ross also took second place in the 100 butterfly (57.91). He gained a total of 56 points in the meet to tie for ninth place out of 80 swimmers.

Daniel Brown and Landon Schmid are the other two Panthers in the pool with Papermakers.

“I believe there are a lot more Washougal kids we can add to the program, from what I’ve seen at the club level,” Bemis said.