Seven Camas and four Washougal girls swimmers are on their way to the state championship meet Friday and Saturday, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
“We had spectacular races. Very, very very fast swims. In some cases, unexpected swims,” said head coach Mike Bemis.
“It will be interesting to see how much drop we can get out of these girls after dropping so much at districts,” he added.
The top eight placers from Friday’s preliminary events advance to Saturday’s championship finals. Those girls who finish in 9th through 16th place come back Saturday for consolations.
“The big points are in the top eight,” Bemis said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”
Jacqueline Purwins clinched first place in diving for Camas at the 4A district meet, Nov. 3 and 4 at Kelso High School, with a score of 444.75.
“Any time you break the district meet record and the pool record, that’s really good,” Bemis said. “And that pool record was from 1979.”
Irelyn McGee earned second place at districts with a diving score of 369.2. Shaelyne McGee took fourth place with a score of 307.9. They will both compete with Purwins at the state meet.
Bailey Segall grabbed first place for the Papermakers in the 100-meter butterfly with a time 1:00.52. She also finished fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:24.94) to qualify for state in both events.
Segall said she was shocked that she dropped three seconds in the butterfly. She watched the finish over-and-over again on video.
“In that race, as it was happening, I didn’t realize what was going on. I was just really focusing on my arms and I didn’t realize until the last wall that I had a chance to catch her,” Segall said. “And I just decided to do that underwater. Looking back at the video, that’s what won it for me.”
She added that moment in time will be unforgettable for more reasons than one.
“It wasn’t necessarily that I won. It was to look down and see my teammates’ faces at the end, because they had all been there,” Segall said. “And then, to look up at the time and see that I had dropped that much. It was incredible.”
Madalyn Scherwinski, Jessica Bretz, Segall and Paeton Lesser claimed second place for Camas in the 200 freestyle relay (1:43.06) and third place in the 400 freestyle relay (3:45.61) to send both relays to state. Lesser also gained fourth place in the 100 free (55.78 seconds) to qualify for state in that event.
“I am stoked,” said Scherwinski, the only senior in the group. “I was an alternate last year, so to be going to state for real this time is super cool.”
As one of the captains, Scherwinski preaches teamwork.
“With all these young swimmers coming in, we’ve got this awesome family identity,” she said. “I think it’s important for the younger ones to see that and keep building that family identity for years to come.”
Bemis is also excited about the youth movement. Of the 38 girls who swam for Camas this season, 14 of them are freshmen. Four of the eight Washougal swimmers also are freshmen.
“It’s quite a big step Washougal took, going from two swimmers a year ago to eight swimmers this year,” Bemis said. “If they do that again next year, they’ll have one of the larger 2A teams in Clark County and in our district. The growth there has been pretty spectacular.”
Washougal competed at the 2A district meet Nov. 3 and 4, at Evergreen State College in Olympia.
Charlotte Baker, Lily Sietz, Kaylan Schmid and Ana Janiszewski earned second place in the 400 freestyle relay (3:59.43) and third place in the 200 medley relay (2:02.49) to send both relays to state.
Baker also took second place in the 100 backstroke (1:04.19) and Schmid claimed second place in the 100 breaststroke (1:15.09). Sietz finished fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:31.99), Baker grabbed fourth in the 100 freestyle (58.43) and Janiszewski followed in fifth in the 100 free (59.12).
As a senior, Janiszewski’s advice to her Washougal teammates going to state is simple.
“I tell them not to be nervous,” she said. “Just have fun and swim fast.”