Super first day of swimming for Camas

Papermakers in contention for a state title

After making so many time drops in Friday’s preliminary races, the Camas boys are becoming serious contenders for the 4A state swimming championship Saturday, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

“Based on what I projected, we are ahead of that projection right now,” said head coach Mike Bemis. “We’re going to have to step up and swim harder tomorrow than we did today to keep our places or to move up. We’re looking very strong.”

Mark Kim claimed the No. 1 seeds in the 200-meter freestyle and the 500 freestyle, with times of 1:43.19 in the 200 free and 4:36.59 in the 500 free. The junior won individual state titles in both of these races in 2015.

After completing the 500 free, Kim dove right back into the pool and helped the Papermakers earn the No. 1 seed in the 200 freestyle relay. Eric Wu, Jaden Kim, Tom Utas and Mark Kim finished in 1:27.24.

“It’s my third year doing it,” Mark Kim said. “Mike trains us pretty well, and you got to be prepared for whatever comes your way.

“It’s difficult, but it’s what I got to do for the team,” he added. “It’s definitely worth it.”

Utas established the No. 1 seed in the 50 freestyle, with a time of 21.13 seconds. He also has the No. 4 seed in the 100 freestyle (47.67). Both Utas and Bemis were thrilled to see Finn McClone (48.61) and Christopher Xia (48.9) make it into tomorrow’s finals.

“Our 100 free was amazing,” Bemis said. “Getting three guys into the finals was incredible for us.”

“We had two of our swimmers seeded 14th and 18th, and they bumped all the way to seventh and eighth,” Utas said. “I think that is insanely incredible, and I’m extremely proud of them to move up that much for the team because they want to win as much as everyone else.”

Camas took the No. 3 seed in the 200 medley (1:37.73) and the 400 freestyle relay races (3:13.14). Wu earned third place in the 200 individual medley (1:54.75) and seventh place in the 100 breaststroke (58.75). Jaden Kim claimed third in the 100 butterfily (52.21). McClone (54.31) and Jeff Fadlovich (54.63) qualified for the 100 backstroke finals, in sixth and seventh place.

Austin Fogel (500 free), Jaden Kim (200 free), Fadlovich (200 free) and Xia (50 free) will have an opportunity to score more points for the Papermakers in the consolation races.

Immediately after the last preliminary race, Bemis and the Camas boys were already plotting out the big pieces on the chessboard and where to strike next.

“That’s what makes this meet fun,” Bemis said. “It’s going to be between us, Curtis, Skyline and Issaquah. One mistake could knock you out of the running for a trophy.”

The unknown factor is diving. The Papermakers don’t have any divers, so they will have to make up those points in the races.

“Everybody wants to win because we know we can,” Utas said. “We’re going for it.”