Youth propels Camas to fourth

Sophomore wins two state championships

Tom Utas and Mark Kim led the Camas High School boys swimming team back up on the podium at the 4A state championship meet Saturday, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

After sifting between third- and fifth-place throughout the night, the Papermakers finished in fourth place with 167 points. Newport, of Bellevue, won the state team championship for the second year in a row with 234 points. Curtis took second place with 176 points and Issaquah earned third place with 174 points.

Kim led the way for Camas by winning individual championships in the 200- and 500-meter freestyle races. The sophomore clinched the 200 free title with a time of 1 minute, 42.73 seconds. He then cruised to victory in the 500 free with a time of 4:38.54.

“It feels really good as a sophomore to be a state champion,” Kim said. “You put everything you have into every race. It’s painful, but it’s all part of the sport.”

Utas propelled to second place in the 100 freestyle, in 47.11 seconds. The junior also finished in fourth place in the 50 freestyle, in 21.71 seconds.

“I hit the wall and looked at the board expecting to get fourth or third, but I got second. It’s very exciting,” Utas said of the 100 free photo finish. “It feels good to get those individual medals, but you want to stand up on that podium with your teammates.”

Luke Albert, Eric Wu, Utas and Kim claimed fifth place in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:29. Albert, Christopher Xia, Kim and Utas capped off the meet with a sixth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:15.97.

“It’s not just about you anymore. It’s all the guys,” Kim said.

“You have to work a lot harder because you don’t want to let the other guys down,” Utas added.

Camas sophomore Brian Andrade got the opportunity to swim in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke adaptable races at the state meet. The 15-year-old doesn’t let autism slow him down in the water. He has been swimming since he was 4. Just like his Papermaker teammates, Andrade stood on the podium at the biggest meet of the season.

Wu won the 200 individual medley (1:57.31) and 100 breaststroke (59.63) consolation events to earn the Papermakers some key points in the team standings. Finn McClone finished second in the 100 backstroke consolation final (55.01) and Jeff Fadlovich followed in fifth place (56 seconds even). McClone, Wu, Xia and Austin Fogel grabbed third place in the 200 medley relay consolation final (1:42.42).

Head coach Mike Bemis said those efforts by Wu, McClone, Xia, Fogel and Fadlovich helped Camas come home with a team trophy.

“I figured fifth place would be a really great accomplishment,” Bemis said. “For them to outdo what I thought, and be in the hunt for second throughout the meet, surprised me. It’s the whole reason you coach, to see performances like that.”

The Papermakers finished the 2015 state championship meet on the podium in second place. Three seniors led the charge, while Utas, Kim, Albert, Fadlovich and McClone gained valuable experience.

Camas made a big statement again Friday and Saturday with juniors, sophomores and freshmen. The future looks bright.

Tom Utas thanked his brother John, and fellow 2015 graduates Kasey Calwell and Lucas Ulmer, for challenging these young Papermakers to continue the Camas swimming legacy.

“Even though they are in college, they’re watching the times, reading the articles and encouraging us every step of the way,” Utas said. “It means so much.”