Splashes by three Washougal Panthers are sending ripples through the high school boys swimming scene in Washington.
Daniel Brown, Isaiah Ross and Landon Schmid didn’t know each other before starting out on this adventure together. Now, this freshmen trio is inseparable in their mission as trail blazers in a pool with Camas Papermakers.
“There wasn’t a high school program at Washougal,” Ross said. “My mom pushed for it, and so did a couple of the other parents. I’m so glad they did. It’s fun.”
“You get to represent your entire high school, and you’re the only ones doing it,” Brown said. “This is bringing us closer together as friends.”
At the first meet of the season, Ross became the first Washougal High School swimmer to qualify for the state meet, Feb. 19 and 20, at the King County Aquatic Center, in Federal Way. Ross has earned state qualifying times in the 200-meter individual medley, 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle.
“I’m very excited. State is going to be a lot of fun. There’s going to be some good competition there,” he said. “I got to see what it’s all about first, but I still plan on bringing it.”
Ross has been swimming since he was 7. After making an impression in lessons, he was asked to try out for the Mt. Hood club team in Gresham, Oregon.
“I’ve been doing it ever since,” he said. “I just got better and better, and it just got more and more fun.”
Schmid has been a member of the Columbia River Swim Team for the past three years. He feels comfortable in the water, even at 5:30 a.m. every morning for practice.
“I never thought I would be getting up this early to swim,” Schmid said, “but I like it.”
Brown is glad he gave swimming a whirl.
“My mom used to swim in high school, and my dad was a good swimmer in the Navy,” he said. “I enjoy it a lot. It’s more fun than it is work. You have to work to get better, but it’s fun getting there.”
Brown, Ross and Schmid head to LaCamas Swim & Sport every morning before school to practice. They race with Camas at meets, but record times and score points for Washougal.
“We push each other in practice, and it makes all of us better,” Ross said. “You can see it at the meets how much faster we are and closer we are.”
“It’s not every day that you get to swim with a 4A team that finished second at state,” Brown added. “We use them to push ourselves to get faster.”
In order for this mission to establish high school swimming in Washougal to be successful, three Panthers cannot do it on their own. For starters, they need at least one more person to join so they can compete in the relay races. Right now, they just do exhibitions with Matthew Risley, the lone swimmer out of Woodland High School.
Brown, Ross and Schmid hope their efforts in the pool today inspire a wave of Washougal swimmers to join the program in the future. It all starts with a ripple.
“I hope it will catch on,” Brown said. “Swimming, to me personally, is a lot of fun. I hope more people from Washougal get hooked like I have.”
Camas welcomes Evergreen schools to town Wednesday
The Camas, Union and Mountain View boys swimming teams will battle for the 4A Greater St. Helens League championship Wednesday, at LaCamas Swim & Sport. Racing starts at 3:30 p.m.
The Papermakers beat Battle Ground and Prairie Friday, and Skyview, Hockinson and Fort Vancouver Wednesday to continue their undefeated season against Southwest Washington schools.
Finn McClone, Tom Utas, Mark Kim and Eric Wu earned first place for Camas in the 200-meter medley relay Friday, and set a state qualifying time of 1:42.94. Carrick Sullivan, Zachary Macia, Jakob Duerfeldt and Ian Pinch took second place in 2:02.3.
Utas, Kim, Wu and Christopher Xia clinched first place in the 200 freestyle relay with a state cut time of 1:32.62. Jeff Fadlovich, Zachary Macia, Noah Macia and Maxwell Crowson notched second place in 2:02.44.
Kim, Xia, Austin Fogel and McClone finished first in the 400 free relay (3:30.09). Crowson, Fadlovich, Noah Macia and Duerfeldt followed in second (3:46.43).
Utas (1:50.94) and Fogel (1:53.45) gained first and second place in the 200 free. Noah Macia (2:20.18), Duerfeldt (2:23.18) and Zachary Macia (2:24.10) finished top three in the 200 individual medley. Xia (23.94), Fadlovich (24.0), McClone (24.26) and Crowson (24.39) went 1-2-3-4 in the 50 free.
Kim (55.26) and Xia (57.34) snagged first and second in the 100 butterfly. Wu (51.34) and McClone (52.68) claimed first and second in the 100 free. Fogel (5:09.24) and Fadlovich (5:11.89) finished first and second in the 500 free.
Wu won the 100 backstroke (58.21), and Sullivan followed in third place (1:19.14). Crowson earned first place in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.12), and Ian Pinch took third. (1:18.79).
Camas swept Wednesday’s races at home.
Fadlovich, Wu, Kim and Luke Albert grabbed first place in the 200 medley relay (1:56.46). McClone, Aaron Le, Xia and Noah Macia notched second (1:59.7).
Xia, Fogel, Wu and Kim finished first in the 400 free relay (3:55.51), and Crowson, Andrey Khabibrakhmanov, McClone and Fadlovich followed in second (4:10.69).
Albert, Wu, Fogel and Khabibrakhmanov earned first in the 200 free relay (1:49.49).
Khabibrakhmanov (2:12.31) and Crowson (2:19.64) claimed first and second in the 200 free. Kim (2:16.74), McClone (2:27.46) and Xia (2:29.19) went top three in the 200 IM. Wu (25.91), Albert (26.49) and Fogel (27.38) finished top three in the 50 free.
Xia (4:46.02) and Khabibrakhmanov (4:49.99) took first and second in the 400 free. McClone (1:03.81) and Fadlovich (1:04.3) earned first and second in the 100 backstroke. Kim (1:13.29) and Danill Timchenko (1:22.06) finished first and second in the 100 breaststroke. Albert won the 100 free (58.09) and Fogel took second in the 100 butterfly.