Gresham, OR — The Columbia River Swim Team (CRST) had their best showing ever at the annual Speedo Sectionals meet at Mt. Hood Community College this past weekend, with Camas High School’s two-time State champion, Eric Wu, leading the way.
The team itself earned more than 300 points, and Wu’s performance in the 100 Fly Finals earned him a berth on the awards podium. He also earned a personal best time, and set a team record in the 200 IM (2.11.13).
Top college and high school athletes from 11 states convened at Mt. Hood CC in a meet that lasted four days — Thursday through Sunday — to test how far these swimmers can go.
Wu’s big success of the meet was the 100 Fly, in which he earned eighth place while competing against college athletes several years older.
“Every moment leading up to the 100 Fly was nerve-racking,” said Wu. “I just barely made the big A final. I would be swimming with all the big college kids in the heat. After I swam, it was a sense of relief mixed with frustration since I missed the Summer national cut by .2 seconds.”
“I did something different training for the 100 Fly this year,” he added. “In addition to swimming fly every available moment in practice, I also did the 200 Fly in every meet this season. The 200 Fly being double the 100 allowed me to build the base and endurance I needed to finish the 100 Fly strongly. I believe that just swimming so much fly throughout the season gave me the back half I needed to drop so much time in such a short period of time.”
His coach, Darlene Lumbard, was pleased with his performance this weekend, and with the team’s efforts overall.
“Eric did a fantastic job, and we are so proud of him! He comes from a very academic family and they put academics first,” said Lumbard. “We make exceptions for the specialized classes and work with his schedule. Swimming is important to him but we’ve always given that time he needs for academics. He’s a well-balanced athlete.”
“Swimming and academics go well together,” added Lumbard. “The swimming culture is really academic. It’s a lifetime sport and they know it. It’s a great stress relief. It’s like yoga.”
Lumbard said the team overall exceeded her expectations.
“They bonded so well,” she said. “They get up and they raced together. They all worked hard and swam well.”
On the 200 IM
“On the last day of a four day prelim final meet, multiple swims wear you out both physically and mentally,” said Wu. “Your body is sore and your mind is weak. Having experiencing this, swimming the 200 IM for the second time on Sunday in itself is an accomplishment. However, dropping time and swimming your best is even better. As I was swimming warm up before my event, I kept thinking to myself I was way too sore and too tired to finish the event, let alone drop time. However, on the outside, Darlene said I looked fine. Physically I was fatigued, but what made me even more tired was thinking that way. Honestly, that’s what makes swimming such a hard sport, it’s not the different strokes you have to swim, or even how much you have to swim, the hardest part about swimming is overcoming your brain telling you you can’t do it.”