Kelso, WA — The Camas High School Boys Swim Team completely dominated two days of District swimming, breaking their own meet records, and winning the title by a wide margin.
The Papermakers racked up 323.5 points by winning seven of 12 events outright. Hanford placed second with 206.5 points; third, Union, 171; fourth Richland, 157; and Battle Ground rounded out the top five, with 154 points. A total of 10 schools competed.
”I think winning Districts this year was really important to me,” said State Champion, Mark Kim, who was honored as 4A Swimmer of the Year. “Especially since this is my senior year. I’m definitely proud of these guys. Not just the guys who are part of the state team, but a lot of these kids really stepped it up today, and yesterday, and just really impressed me — especially Luke (Bales) being willing to get up on that relay when Finn was out being injured.”
The boys shined at Friday’s Prelims, breaking the 200 Free Relay meet record, which set the momentum for rest of the meet. Junior Eric Wu felt Friday’s efforts put them into a good spot for Saturday’s Finals.
”I’m really excited about Dave Peddie swimming today,” said Wu before Finals started. “For the 200 IM he’s half a second from going to State so hopefully he makes it.”
Peddie, a Freshman, was both excited and nervous. He was seeded fourth going into Finals.
”I think it’s a good situation to be in,” said Peddie. “It will help me swim fast, and I’m super pumped up about it.”
Peddie ultimately placed third, which guaranteed him a spot to compete at State. See his exuberant response in our YouTube video report.
The attitude Saturday morning was a far cry from a few days ago when the team was nervous about losing to Hanford. They went into Finals with confidence — and it showed in the scores.
They got off to a fast start winning the 200 Medley Relay (1:38.48) with Papermakers Finn McClone, Austin Fogel, Jaden Kim, and Eric Wu. Battle Ground and Union rounded out the top three.
Mark Kim then won the 200 Free (1:42.72) beating back a challenge from Hanford’s Skyler Younkin and John Markillie.
Eric Wu then crushed the competition in the 200 IM (1:54.33). He has grace, speed and powerful strokes that propel him through the pool. Union’s Nick Wahlman placed second (2:02.21), and Peddie, third (2:08.24), which earned him a spot on the State team.
Papermaker Chris Xia placed first in the 50 Free (21.84) nearly breaking the meet record. Battle Ground’s Marcelo Lombardi placed second (22.08) and Union’s Piece Ammentorp placed third (22.22).
Richland dominated 1 meter diving. Tyler Maki won the event (206.45). Ben Douglas, second (201.75) and Ryan McClelland, third (190.35).
Hanford’s Skyler Younkin set a new meet record in the 100 Fly (49.51). Jaden Kim placed second (50.46) and Wu placed third (50.80).
In the 100 Free, Walla Walla’s Luke Elmenhurst placed first (48.29) while Papermaker Chris Xia placed second (48.45) and Union’s Pierce Ammentorp placed third (49.11).
Mark Kim completely dominated the 500 Free event (4:44.79). Hanford’s Markillie placed second (4:47.82) and Jack Elliott, also of Hanford, placed third (5:00.23).
Camas also dominated the 200 Free Relay breaking their own day-old meet record (1:27.02) shaving off more than a second from the previous day. Eric Wu, Jaden Kim, Chris Xia, and Mark Kim made it happen. Battle Ground and Hanford rounded out the top three.
Richland’s Addison Pollich won the 100 Back against an injured Finn McClone, who placed second (55.50). Union’s Tony Kajino placed third (55.74).
Camas struggled in the 100 Breast. That event was won by Union’s Val Tikhormirov (59.39). Union’s Nick Wahlman placed second (1:00.90) and Richland’s Connor McShane placed third (27.88).
Luke Bales was summoned at the last minute to replace an injured Finn McClone in the 400 Free. He delivered. The Camas team won (3:15.59). Union (3:26.23) and Hanford (3:27.04) rounded out the top three.
“We came up here knowing we would probably get our six in (Mark Kim, Finn McClone, Eric Wu, Christopher Xia, Jaden Kim and Austin Fogel),” said Head Coach, Mike Bemis. “And then, getting David Peddie in … and with Finn getting injured and having Luke Bales available … he had such an outstanding performance in that 400 Free Relay.”
Bemis said the kids performed well, even with all the things that go on during a meet that you have no control over.
“I’m real proud of these guys,” he said. “Finn McClone and Mark Kim have a good pulse on the team. They have been excellent captains. They’ve held their own meetings with the group, without the coaches, when we needed them. And, we’ve come out of it stronger each time. We want to swim the best we can at State. Hopefully that includes best times, and that our relays and individuals place well. The one critical factor is we are going to have a tough time competing with those teams who have divers.”
“Because we don’t have divers, we’re going in behind and having to swim out of a hole. We are going to do our best to try and repeat as state champions. That’s our goal. These kids would like to win it two in a row. We just got to wait and see.”
State Prelims start this Friday, with Finals on Saturday at Federal Way.
To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu