Championship quest

CHS swimming team adds league title to list of accolades

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Jeff Fadlovich pulls ahead of Chris Xue during the final lap of the 400-meter freestyle race Wednesday, at LaCamas Swim & Sport. Camas defeated Mountain View, Union, Evergreen and Heritage in this clash of rival high schools for the 4A Greater St. Helens League championship.

The Camas High School boys swimming team completed the first step on its quest for championships.

Seniors Kasey Calwell, Lucas Ulmer and John Utas, sophomores Tom Utas and Jeff Fadlovich, and freshman Mark Kim, propelled the Papermakers to victory in 10 of the 11 events Wednesday. They also set two LaCamas Swim & Sport pool records.

Camas defeated Mountain View 174-111, Union 190-94, Evergreen 213-47 and Heritage 213-25 for the 4A Greater St. Helens League championship. Swimmers and coaches said the meet will be remembered for bringing out the fun side of this rivalry between different high schools and clubs.

“It’s kids competing with each other and cheering for each other,” said Camas head coach Mike Bemis. “It’s the way sports should be done.”

Kim, Calwell, Ulmer and John Utas won the 200-meter medley relay for the Papermakers with a state qualifying and pool record breaking time of 1 minute, 54.17 seconds. Calwell also clinched first place in the 100 freestyle, with a state qualifying time of 55.65 seconds, and the 100 breaststroke, with a pool record time of 1:09.87.

“Before the meet started, Coach Mike said ‘if you see a Mountain View or Union kid ahead of you, swim faster.’ I think we all took that to heart,” Calwell said. “The freshmen and sophomore depth that we have and the senior power; it’s a good combination. We can’t get too confident. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Fadlovich kept Chris Xue on his radar during the 400 freestyle. The Camas sophomore left the Mountain View senior in his wake and won the race with a time of 4:29.30. Fadlovich swims for the Lacamas Headhunters. Xue swims for the Columbia River Waveriders. So, this was a double victory for Lacamas.

“I felt slight dread by how intense this was getting, hope that this just might work and the overpowering desire to win,” Fadlovich said. “It feels great to beat a rival in my home pool with my club coaches seeing how I did.”

Tom Utas wouldn’t let Union’s Andrew Chang catch up to him in the 200 freestyle. Utas touched the wall first in 2:02.31.

“It was a hard race, but I could hear everybody cheering me on, and that just kept me going,” Utas said. “At meets like this, everybody is going to get better times because you are swimming with your friends.”

Ulmer (1:01.51), Tom Utas (1:01.65), Kim (1:03.96) and Max Urbanek (1:08.42) grabbed the top four places for Camas in the 100 butterfly. John Utas earned first place in the 50 freestyle (25.94). Ulmer (1:04.71) and Urbanek (1:10.64) finished in first and second place in the 100 backstroke.

Kim, Calwell, Tom Utas and John Utas snagged first place in the 200 freestyle relay (1:42.58). John Utas, Tom Utas, Fadlovich and Ulmer claimed first place in the 400 freestyle relay (3:54.76). Luke Albert, Andrey Khabibrakhmanov, Finn McClone and Urbanek took second place in (4:04.29).

Camas hosts Columbia River and Hudson’s Bay Wednesday, at LaCamas. The Southwest Washington Invitational is Saturday, at Mark Morris High School.

Ulmer said the Papermakers need to keep training hard every day. Districts, Feb. 13 and 14 at Kelso High School, is the next major hurdle on this championship quest.

“There’s always going to be that one guy who works harder than you did, and he’s going to come up and get you,” Ulmer said. “I want to be the guy who catches up to somebody, not the one who gets caught.”