Tag Archive for: Boy’s Swim Team

Kelso, WA — The back-to-back State Champion Camas High School Boys swim team handily won Saturday’s Kelso Invite — without 10 key swimmers — which is a testament to their depth, talent, and endurance.

The Papermakers earned 440 points, outscoring second place Union by 82 in the 15-team annual invitational where many Camas swimmers still hold years-old records in multiple events. It wasn’t looking good for the Papermakers, as they didn’t win an event until the 200 Free Relay, which is the ninth of 11 events. But, even without 10 swimmers, Camas held an edge with their numbers and earned enough points in all the heats to come out on top.

Even so, Union and Mountain View came on strong, topping multiple events, and setting state cuts throughout the meet.

In the 200 Free Medley Relay, Mountain View’s Timothy Huang, Justin Xue, Christian Madden and Fred Grimshaw won the event with a state cut (1:42.90). Union placed second; Skyview third.

Evergreen’s Ilya Zablotoviskii’s strength in the water was on display as he narrowly defeated Washougal’s Isaiah Ross in the 200 Free with a final time of 1:47.66; Ross clocked in at 1:48.21, and Skyview’s Jace Creech placed third. Papermaker Jack Harris, fourth.

Union swimmers Tony Kajino (2:08.41) and Jack Gallo (2:09.31) took the top two spots in the 200 IM, with Columbia River’s Sam Walker placing third (2:10.74) and Kelso’s Grant Eastham, fourth.

In the last of 18 50 Free heats, Mountain View’s Grimshaw (22.52) barely defeated Liam Johnson (22.58) and Mountain View’s Justin Xue (22.60). Papermaker Ben Taylor placed fourth.


Off the starting blocks.

Grimshaw would do it again in the 100 Free (50.14) barely beating Battle Ground’s Alex Curran (50.54) and Papermaker Taylor (50.87). Washougal’s Daniel Brown placed fourth.

Ross topped the 100 Fly (52.46), one of his specialties, barely beating Zablotoviskii (52.60). Union’s Val Tikhomirov placed third, and Liam Johnson placed fourth.

Grimshaw delivered a win again in the 100 Free (50.14) outpacing Curran (50.54) and Taylor (50.87). Brown placed fourth.

Madden was victorious in the 500 Free (5:05.24), followed by Columbia River’s Liam Noftsker (5:12.76) and Prairie’s Jonah Colagross (5:33.57). Mark Morris’s Andrew MacDonnell placed fourth.

Camas won the 200 Free Relay (1:32.86) on the strength of Taylor, Luke Bales, Austin Fogel and Emanuel Crisan-Duma. Skyview placed second (1:33.90), Union third (1:34.46) and Kelso, fourth.



Camas Freshman, Josh Swenson.

Curran would win the 100 Back (52.76) outpacing Skyview’s Jace Creech (55.69) and Union’s Tony Kajino (56.77). Columbia River’s Daniel Ishchuck placed fourth.

Tikhomirov won the 100 Breast (1:00.52), with Union’s Nick Wahlman (1:01.94), Xue (1:02.08) and Fogel (1:03.75) rounding out the top four.

Mountain View came out on top in the 400 Free Relay (3:27.62) — with Madden, Xue, Huang, and Grimshaw. The Camas A Relay team of Taylor, Crisan-Duma, Bales and Harris placed second, with Mark Morris placing fourth.

”I’m shocked we won,” said Harris. “We’re down so many swimmers due to the Science Olympiad.”


Skyview’s Liam Johnson.


Austin Fogel dives in.





Team Scores:

1. Camas — 440

2. Union — 358

3. Mountain View — 335

4. Columbia River — 330

5. Kelso — 285

6. Mark Morris — 247

7. Skyview — 200

7. Battle Ground — 200

9. Prairie — 183

10. Hockinson — 86

11. Washougal — 82

12. Evergreen — 64

13. RA Long — 41

14. Hudson’s Bay — 36

15. Heritage — 16


Camas, WA — High School sweethearts Jacqueline Purwins, a gymnast, and Mark Kim, a swimmer, did a rare thing last weekend: They helped lead their respective Camas High School athletic teams win back-to-back State Championships. Winning a State title is no small feat, let alone having it happen to two teams from the same school on the same weekend. Add to that, the sweetheart factor.

It was, for them, the perfect weekend.

The victories started Friday night, at the Tacoma Dome, as Carol Willson led her Gymnastics team to a historic victory over perennial champions from Woodinville. The girls finished strong in the bars event, which was enough to propel them over the top.

The winning announcement was euphoric, with the girls hugging and crying tears of joy.

”I’m still processing it,” said Jax, sitting down with a smile on her face at Caffe Piccolo in Downtown Camas. “Given our schedule this week with the holiday, and the snow days, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect.”

Moments later, her sweetheart, Mark, enters the cafe, proudly wearing his Papermaker sweatshirt.

Ever the reluctant interviewee, the talented and focused Mark, said the same thing.

”I’m still processing it,” said Mark, whose swim team has now won State for two consecutive years.

Jax has been in gymnastics since she was three, and worked her whole life for that moment last week.


The 2018 4A State Gymnastics Champions — from Camas High School!

“What I love about the sport is that you can never reach the top,” she said. “They’re always creating new skills, so if you add a new twist, you can get a new skill named after you.”

The sport has taken her to several other states, including Utah and Idaho, and she’s spent a lot of time in Seattle. She credits constant support from her family, which, she said is how she got this far.

At State finals, Jax said she knew what she had to do. The whole team did.

”Alissa’s routines were amazing,” she said. “I did my best, and so did everyone else. I didn’t know we’d win until bars.”

During competition, Jax said she ignores the scores. “I generally don’t look at the scores, and try to block everything out,” she said. “We’ve had a lot more fun this year with Shea, Alissa, and Lynn.”

Mark has been swimming for six years, and started making a name for himself by winning individual State titles, culminating in last year’s first-ever State team Championship for Camas. He’s fast, really fast, and so is his brother, Jaden.

The boys went into Saturday’s finals behind Kamiak, and knew they had to focus to bridge the gap and win the title again.

“We knew the situation we were in,” said Mark. “We didn’t really have to tell each other — we just knew what had to be done. Everyone did a great job!”

The boys climbed back, and before their last swim, they led by 50 points. Yes, they are that fast.

But, it’s also about focus.

Before every event, Mark puts on his headphones and gets in that “zone.” His mind is totally focused on the event in front of him.

“Without music, I don’t swim well,” he said. “At that moment, nothing else matters.”

So what does he listen to?

”Just two songs,” he said. “I play ‘Till I Collapse’ and ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem.”


The 2018 4A State Champions, from left: Luke Bales, Chris Xia, Austin Fogel, Mark Kim, Finn McClone, Eric Wu, Jaden Kim, Dave Peddie, and Brian Andrade.

He’s grown up in very focused Korean family — “no excuses, don’t ask why, and ‘no’ isn’t an answer is what my parents taught me,” he said.

”My parents pushed me beyond what we wanted to do,” said Mark. “It’s a non-stop grind. They taught me to never give up.”

The Jax/Mark relationship isn’t your typical one.  They’ve only “dated” four times, like going out to dinner or seeing a movie.

“Mostly, we just hang out and do homework together,” said Jax. “Or we walk the dog.”

They’ve known each since 5th grade, and there were some attractions in middle school, but they didn’t “date” until high school. They had lockers close to each other.

Jax stays busy with diving practices multiple times a week in Beaverton, while Mark also plays alto saxophone for the Camas Marching Band.

”He doesn’t sleep,” said Jax.

They are both very driven, and want to excel at everything they try.

Mark will attend Westpoint, starting in July. He wants to be a Mechanical Engineer, and will also swim for Westpoint. Jax hasn’t decided on a school just yet, but she wants to be an orthopedic surgeon.

They are both essential parts of two teams that made Papermaker history — which will be part of their legacy. And, they’re just getting started.

Like many alumni, we’ll follow up on their progress, they’ll still be hounded a little by the press, but for the moment, they are savoring what happened last week.

Two State Championships in one weekend. Yes, that really happened.

Photo Gallery

Federal Way, WA — Friday’s 4A State Swimming Prelims was vastly different from last year, starting off with a Camas miss in the 200 Medley Relay, which put the Papermakers into a hole going into today’s Finals.

The Camas relay team placed ninth, which puts them into today’s B Finals — and that’s not where you want to be if you want to win a team State title.

“In that Relay, Jaden Kim was the only one of us who did fine,” said Wu. “I should have been at 21.4, not 21.6, Finn should be at 24, and Austin at 26. Tom Utas was the game changer for us last year. He was a 20 high. Chris is putting up good times.”

Wu said “the State competition is faster this year, and we were top 5 going in as a team — and I’m disappointed in all my swims.”

Friday wasn’t all bad. There were many bright spots, but the early miss set a bit of a damper on the day.

State Champion and team Co-Captain, Mark Kim, placed third overall in the 200 Free (1:42.95) and made it to the A Finals.

“Mark is right where he wants to be,” said Assistant Coach, Leslie Leveque. “He’s doing well.”


Mark Kim — in the 500 Free.

Finn McClone will also compete in the 200 Free B Finals. His time was 1:47.95. Wu will compete in the 200 IM A Finals, as will Chris Xia in the 50 Free. Xia is doing well at State. Freshman Dave Peddie entered his first State event in the 200 IM.

Both Wu and Jaden Kim put into good times in the 100 Fly, and are seeded second and third, respectively.

Xia will also compete today in the 100 Free A Finals, seeded sixth.

In the 500 Free, Mark Kim is seeded third (right as planned), and Austin Fogel made a personal best in the same event (4:56.16).

The Papermakers placed first in the 200 Free Relay (1:27.59) at Prelims. McClone will also compete today in the 100 Back.

And, lastly, the 400 Free Relay (Chris Xia, Finn McClone, Mark Kim, Jaden Kim) are seeded second going into the 400 Free Relay.

”I feel like last year we had nothing to lose, and so much to gain,” said Wu. “This year we’re trying not to lose everything we earned. It’s a totally different mindset.”

The Finals start today at 2 pm at the King County Aquatic Center.

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu


Chris Xia.



Finn McClone, David Peddie, Austin Fogel (back), and Chris Xia.



Freshman Dave Peddie competed for the first time at State — in the 200 IM.


Longview, WA — Lindbergh High School bested Camas at Saturday’s annual Southwest Washington Invitational. Yes, Lindbergh. We’d never heard of them, either, but they made the 2.5 hour trek from Renton, WA to participate in the invite — and they swam well.

When the final scores were announced, it was a little surprising since Camas had won so many events, but the numbers don’t lie. In the end, Lindbergh earned 529 points; Camas, 475; Columbia River, 362; Mark Morris, 344, and Battle Ground, 295. A total of 17 schools competed at the invite.

“We were down 11 kids,” said Camas coach, Mike Bemis. “Plus, I let them pick some of their own relay teams. It’s OK. We’re in great shape for Districts, and have a solid State team.”

Plus, Columbia River High School had a great showing — especially with Rob Mead, who broke a 26-year-old meet record (51.92) in the 100 Back. The record (52.81) had been held all that time by All American, Whitney Woolard, who would compete at the 1996 Olympic Trials.

Camas junior, Eric Wu, didn’t compete at the last part of the meet, due to illness. He eventually recovered.

The boys are working hard the next two weeks in preparation for Districts; and then at least eight will represent at State  in February.


The Lindbergh High School swim team won the invite.



From left: Ben Taylor, Luke Bales, Jake Duerfeldt, and Zach Macia.



Noah Macia in the 100 Breast event.


Invite Stats:

200 Medley Relay

1st Place: Battle Ground — Alex Curran, Marcelo Lombardi, Sam Anderson, Seth Colpitts (1:42.27)
2nd Place: Camas — Finn McClone, Eric Wu, Austin Fogel, Luke Bales (1:42.99)
3rd Place: CRHS — Daniel Ishchuk, Simon Parish, Elijah Parish, Sam Walker (1:51.83)

200 Free

1st Place: Mark Kim, Camas (1:47.77)
2nd Place: Isaiah Ross, Washougal (1:48.20)
3rd Place: Finn McClone, Camas (1:48.47)

200 IM

1st Place: Eric Wu, Camas (2:00.48)
2nd Place: Sam Walker, CR (2:09.92)
3rd Place: Simon Parish, CR (2:14.97)


Camas Swim Coach Mike Bemis talks with members of his team.

50 Free

1st Place: Ben Phelps, CR (23.04)
2nd Place: Sam Anderson, BG (23.05)
3rd Place: Marcelo Lombardi, BG (23.24)

100 Fly

1st Place: Joe Dodd, Hockinson (55:30)
2nd Place: Elijah Parish, CR (57.58)
3rd Place: Kodee Soetamin, Mark Morris (58.79)

100 Free

1st Place: Rob Mead, CR (47.49)
2nd Place: Sam Anderson, BG (50.35)
3rd Place: Daniel Brown, Washougal (51.49)

500 Free

1st Place: Mark Kim, Camas (4:55.37)
2nd Place: Austin Fogel, Camas (5:05.55)
3rd Place: Antonio Ortiz, Lindbergh (5:20.04)

200 Free Relay

1st Place: Battle Ground — Sam Anderson, Seth Colpitts, Marcelo Lombardi, Alex Curran (1:32.63)
2nd Place: CR — Simon Parish, Ben Phelps, Daniel Ishchuk, Rob Mead (1:34.42)
3rd Place: Camas — Ben Taylor, Jake Duerfeldt, Zach Macia, Mark Kim (1:37.18)

100 Back

1st Place: Rob Mead, CR (51.92) a meet record!
2nd Place: Finn McClone, Camas (56.26)
3rd Place: Tony Kajino, Union (57.29)

100 Breast

1st Place: Joe Dodd, Hockinson (1:02.49)
2nd Place: Austin Fogel, Camas (1:03.52)
3rd Place: Khai Tran, Skyview (1:05.51)

400 Free Relay

1st Place: CR – Sam Walker, Elijah Parrish, Ben Phelps, Rob Mead (3:30.98)
2nd Place: Lindbergh — Connor Donahue, Anthony Vogeler, Evan Luttrell, Minh Pham (3:36.12)
3rd Place: Mark Morris — Brian Franklin, Dawson Dang, Ryan Pospichal, Kodee Soetamin (3:36.80)

Invite Photos


Josef Kiesenhofer in the 100 Fly event.



Austin Fogel.


One of the relay teams having fun.


Luke Bales

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu

Kelso, WA — Before Saturday’s Kelso Swim Invitational started, the Camas Boys Swim team weren’t as sure-footed as they usually are before a big meet. With 16 other schools competing, Hanford breathing down their necks, and 10 Camas swimmers missing (including several state champions), Co-Captain Finn McClone wasn’t exactly optimistic.

“So many swimmers are missing today, and Eric (Wu) is totally sick,” said McClone. “Plus I stayed up until 2 last night. Not good.”

They didn’t want to be the first Camas team in recent memory to lose Kelso.

“That would be really bad,” said McClone.

But when the first call to go on deck came, the light turned on. The Camas magic appeared.

During the first event, the 200 Free Relay, the Camas team (McClone, Wu, Chris Xia, and Luke Bales) delivered not only a first place victory, but also a State cut time. This is the first time Bales qualified for a State event.

“I think we have our State team decided now,” said Head Coach, Mike Bemis. “The boys really delivered today. I knew they had it in them. I never doubted it.”

They were just getting warmed up. And, they’d make some Kelso Invitational history before the day was over.

Bemis said the presence of Hanford is part of what keeps Camas on its toes. “Hanford is really good, and they have a lot of talent,” he added.


From left: Junha Lee, Jake Duerfeldt, Zach Macia, and Luke Bales.

Evergreen’s Illia Zablotoviskii won the 200 Free (1:46.39) which is a State cut. He swims for CRST.

Hanford’s John Markillie won the 200 IM (2:00.09) which broke the previous meet record.

“It’s so great to do that after traveling so far today,” said Markillie. “We also love competing with Camas.”

Columbia River’s Josh Bottelberghe won the 50 Free event (21.47) setting a new meet record. Jaron Hamlik held that honor for four years (22.10).

And, bronchitis didn’t stop Eric Wu from breaking a meet record in the 100 Fly (51.19).

”I wasn’t feeling my best today since I’m sick (bronchitis),” said Wu. “But we all have adversities to overcome, and my  team just helped me through that! The energy the team provides can truly do wonders.”

Hanford’s Markillie (48.29) just barely beat McClone in the 100 Free, setting his second meet record of the day.

Camas didn’t compete in the 500 Free, which was won by Zablotoviskii (4:57.81), and Battle Ground won the 200 Free Relay. Camas placed sixth. Addison Pollick, of Richland, won the 100 Back (54.51) with McClone closely behind him.

Wu won the 100 Breast (1:00.41) coming extremely close to beating the meet record (1:00.19). Union’s Nick Wahlman placed second (1:04.28).


Eric Wu won the 100 Breast. He came very close to beating the meet record.

And, in the meet’s final event, the 400 Free Relay, the Papermakers delivered the final blow. Hanford thought they could beat Camas, but the Chris Xia-Junha Lee-Finn McClone-Eric Wu machine was too much for them. The Papermakers won the event (3:19.20) setting a new meet record and beating Hanford by 8 seconds.

”Everyone dropped time and we broke two meet records,” said Wu. “Everyone swam so fast, and it’s just a great environment to compete in. We are back, better than ever — ready for State. Luke Bales has worked so hard. I look forward to having him compete at State. He’s a good addition to the team!”

Final Results

  1. Camas — 529
  2. Hanford — 383
  3. Richland — 362
  4. Union — 244
  5. Battle Ground — 226
  6. Mark Morris — 203
  7. Skyview — 201
  8. Kelso — 179




This team broke the meet record in the 400 Free Relay (3:19.20). From left: Junha Lee, Chris Xia, Eric Wu, and Finn McClone.


Kelso Invitational Photo Gallery

Kelso, WA — It may be a bit of a drive, but Kelso is a familiar place for Camas swimmers. It’s been a place where District Championships are won, records broken, and state qualifying times are earned. And, this week was no different.

On Tuesday, Camas Junior, Eric Wu, made his state cut time in the 50 Free (22.23), which put a smile on his face. Reluctant to talk about his feat, he pivoted and thanked his team instead.

”The whole team swam very well today — especially Ben Taylor in the 100 Fly and Luke Bales in the 200 Free. Our team is up and coming and we’re ready for the Kelso Invitational on Saturday.”

That’s how leaders talk.

And, prior to the Kelso meet, Wu demonstrated that talent and capacity. While most were getting themselves mentally ready for the tasks ahead of them, Wu was busy helping teammate, Tim Timchenko, with his swimming strokes.

That’s how leaders act.


Eric Wu helps Tim Timchenko with some swimming strokes.

They lead, they inspire, and they motivate.

The Camas Boys Swim team is a diverse one. You’ve got your rock stars who have State Champion titles, the near break-outs who are are the verge of hitting some amazing times, focused swimmers who are improving their skills, those that struggle or are new to the sport.

Freshman Josef Kiesenhofer’s teammates know he works as hard as anyone at their practices. New to Camas, Kiesenhofer had taken a break from competitive swimming while his family lived in Germany for the past two years. Prior to that, he swam in Connecticut and North Carolina.

He’s focusing on getting state cuts in the 100 Back and 100 Fly.

”I feel pretty good about the 100 Fly,” Kiesenhofer said. “I have a lot of experience, and it’s fun to be on this team. I really admire Mark Kim — he can practically do anything.”

At Kelso, Kiesenhofer competed in the 100 Fly, 50 Free, and two relays. He won the 100 Fly event.


Josef Kiesenhofer in the 100 Fly.

Freshman Kaden Lana started back up this year after a two-year swimming hiatus. He competes in the 50 Free, 100 Free, and 200 Relay.

“Swimming is fun,” said Lana. “And I love doing Freestyle. It’s easy!”

Sophomore Luke Bales is on the cusp of getting State times in the 50 Free and 100 Free.

”I need to shave 1-2 seconds,” said Bales. “That’s still a lot, but Kelso is a good pool with good blocks and a deep diving end. And the walls here are sticky.”

He may pull it off at Kelso 2.0 this week, when the boys meet at the annual major invitational featuring athletes from 19 schools.

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu

Swim Photo Gallery


Lacamas Athletic Club, Camas, WA — The Papermaker swim team hosted Battle Ground and Prairie High Schools at Wednesday’s dual meet, beating the competition but acknowledging they have more work to do, as a team, before next week’s Kelso meets.

They also made other news Wednesday: Camas has now qualified three relays for State, as well as Eric Wu in the 200m IM and 100m Back. Mark Kim also made a State cut in the 50m Free, and Jaden Kim in the 100 Fly.

“We’re adjusting after winter break,” said Camas co-captain, Finn McClone. “We didn’t look as good as we should. We’re in recovery from lack of winter training, although a few of us did double duty over the break.”

McClone, Eric Wu, and Dave Peddie put in extra swim training over the holidays to stay on track.

“As a team, we really need to fine tune our strokes,” said Wu. “And, Dave Peddie is an absolute workhorse. He’s very motivated, and he’s inspirational. We’ll be ready for the bigger meets.”

Plus, the boys tried something new Wednesday — Zach Macia sang the National Anthem as Jaden Kim and Dave Peddie held up the American flag.

“It was my own rendition,” said Macia. “I was inspired by Jake, Landon, and Luke to do it.”


Getting ready for the National Anthem. From left: Jaden Kim, Zach Macia, and Dave Peddie.

Swim Event Results

200m Medley Relay

  • 1st Place: Camas — Chris Xia, Jaden Kim, Eric Wu, Mark Kim (1:54.54)
  • 2nd Place: Battle Ground — Alex Curran, Marcelo Lombardi, Sam Anderson, Seth Colpitts (1:56.35)
  • 3rd Place: Camas — Josef Kiesenhofer, Dave Peddie, Jack Harris, Ben Taylor (2:06.17)

200m Free Relay

  • 1st Place: Finn McClone, Camas (2:02.28)
  • 2nd Place: Austin Fogel, Camas (2:09.05)
  • 3rd Place: Junha Lee (2:13.16)

200m IM

  • 1st Place: Eric Wu, Camas (2:15.12)
  • 2nd Place: Alex Curran, Battle Ground (2:25.30)
  • 3rd Place: Chris Xia, Camas (2:26.16)

50m Free

  • 1st Place: Mark Kim, Camas (25.05)
  • 2nd Place: Marcelo Lombardi, Battle Ground  (25.60)
  • 3rd Place: Ben Taylor, Camas (27.14)

50 Free Start.

100m Fly

  • 1st Place: Ben Jones, Prairie (54.94)
  • 2nd Place: Cameron Barnes, Battle Ground (56.14)
  • 3rd Place: Jaden Kim, Camas (59.06)

100m Free

  • 1st Place: Marcelo Lombardi, Battle Ground (56.94)
  • 2nd Place: Sam Anderson, Battle Ground (57.78)
  • 3rd Place: Junha Lee, Camas (58.80)

400m Free

  • 1st Place: Chris Xia, Camas (4:38.89)
  • 2nd Place: Colton Sadler, Prairie (5:01.08)
  • 3rd Place: Drew Forstrom, Battle Ground (5:25.41)

200m Free Relay

  • 1st Place: Battle Ground — Sam Anderson, Seth Colpitts, Alex Curran, Marcelo Lombardi (1:46.98)
  • 2nd Place: Camas — Austin Fogel, Ben Taylor, Luke Bales, Junha Lee (1:47.82)
  • 3rd Place: Prairie — Colton Sadler, Chase Clary, Nathan Tuck, Ben Jones (2:05.62)

Camas Co-Captain Finn McClone.

100m Back

  • 1st Place: Eric Wu, Camas (1:02.57)
  • 2nd Place: Alex Curran, Battle Ground (1:04.01)
  • 3rd Place: Isaiah Ross, Washougal (1:06.24)

100m Breast

  • 1st Place: Austin Fogel, Camas (1:12.81)
  • 2nd Place: Mark Kim, Camas (1:14.41)
  • 3rd Place: Sam Anderson, Battle Ground (1:22.80)

400m Free Relay

  • 1st Place: Camas — Mark Kim, Austin Fogel, Finn McClone, Luke Bales (4:02.28)
  • 2nd Place: Prairie — Ben Jones, Nathan Tuck, Chase Clary, Colton Sadler (4:06.20)
  • 3rd Place: Camas — Jack Harris, Junha Lee, Josef Kiesenhofer, Dave Peddie (4:23.84)


Swim Meet Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


VANCOUVER, WA — Columbia River Swim Team’s (CRST) Sammy Empey, 12, loves to swim, even if he has to be at the pool before dawn for a 5:30 am practice.

“I tell him it’s OK to skip some of those early morning practices,” says his mom, Camille, “but, he’s always up on his own ready to be driven to the pool. He has a solid work ethic, and absolutely loves to swim. He’s very driven.”

Empey’s passion for the sport of swimming is resulting in some stellar swim times. The ever-focused, bright and happy, Empey, turned heads this year with not one, but four top 10 nationally ranked USA Swimming times for his age group. He’s No. 2 in the nation for the 100 meter Freestyle, or 100m Free as swimmers call it, with a time of 1:00.35.

He also nationally ranks No. 6 in the 50m Fly (29.94), No. 6 in the 100m Fly (1:06.65), and No. 7 in 50m Free (27.88).

“He’s very focused at every practice,” said his coach, Darlene Hill. “He listens, has fun, and encourages others to improve. He’s a delight to have on the team.”

For him, the sport is fun, but he also has some lofty goals.

“What drives me right now is the State records,” said Sammy. “Those are really hard because I’m young, but I still try by going to practice everyday. I love that my teammates help me everyday. I hate to practice when there are no people there, when there’s no one to push me. They keep me on my feet and push me to get to the next level.”

Hill said the team rallies around each athlete to help them get to where they want to be.

“There’s a real support system here,” said Hill. “And, if a swimmer wants to reach a certain goal, we help them achieve it.”


Sammy dives in for the 100 Free event at the Salem Open.

Empey Boys Breaking Records

“When he first started swimming a few years ago,” said Camille. “He saw the individual records on the wall, and told me he would break all of them. He’s starting to do that now.”

His younger brother, Steven, is just as driven, and likes to compete with Sammy. 

The Empey brothers broke team records at the Salem Open, in November.  Steven broke the 50 Back (33.91) and Sammy broke the 50 Free (24.32), 50 Fly (27.02) and 100 Back (1:01.45) records.  Sammy also set four team records at the same meet.  

Sammy went 2:10.60 in the 200 IM, 53.18 in the 100 Free, 1:01.89 in the 100 Back, and 27.98 in the 50 Back.

“My coaches help with the swimming techniques,” said Sammy. “But they also help us just be good people.”

To learn more, visit www.crstwaveriders.org or www.usaswimming.org

It’s one week into the new school swim season, and the reigning 4A state champion Camas boys swim team is working hard to find a way back to the state awards podium.

“We’re trying to find 2-4 kids to fill the void of two seniors we lost last year,” said Head Coach, Mike Bemis, who himself was honored as Coach of the Year. “We’re trying to fill Jeff’s (Fadlovich) spot and Tom’s (Utas) spot and I’m not sure how many juniors, sophomores, and freshmen we have to do that. Right now, we have the six returning from State, and now we need some others to step up.”

He added it’s very early in the season, with the first regular season meet several weeks away. The boys swim team has had a string of District Championships, and since 2012 they’ve been getting closer each year to clinching the State title, which they finally did in February 2017. They had the right mix of winning individual and relay performances to propel them over the top.

Team Co-captain Mark Kim, who is the reigning 4A State champion in the 200 Free and 500 Free events, looks forward to the journey this season. Senior Finn McClone is the other team captain. He was preparing for the Salem Open meet during interview time.

“The team’s accomplishments last year were really big,” said Kim. “It’s a really big legacy we have to live up to this year, and this being my senior year, it makes me want that State title even more. We have some talented underclassmen that will help us get there.”

This year’s squad is 30 athletes strong, with six seniors, 10 juniors, six sophomores, and eight freshmen. The team is comprised of swimmers from local swim clubs — Columbia River Swim Team (CRST), Lacamas Athletic Club, and Portland Athletic Club (PAC), as well as athletes from Washougal.

“We swim about four miles each day,” said freshman, Dave Peddie, with a big smile. “Morning, night, lunch time.”

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu


State Champion swimmer, Mark Kim, help lead the Camas Boys Swim team win the State title earlier this year.

Swim Team Image Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FEDERAL WAY, WA — Where’s Camas?

That was one of the questions Camas Senior, Kasey Calwell, got after winning his Swimmer of the Year award, and after his team placed second in a 36-team competition on Saturday.

The Papermakers earned 185 points yesterday, just behind meet winner, Newport (Bellevue). It was the team’s best showing — ever. And it was the best performance of any Southwest Washington boys swim team. The  overall score reflects a team that planned for this. It was a calculated performance driven by its seniors, but veraciously supported by its underclassmen.

The eight-member team took down some of the larger, competitive teams who have divers, which adds to the overall score.

2015 Camas Boys Swim Team. Top, from left: Luke Albert, Lucas Ulmer,
Tom Utas, Jeff Fadlovich, Kasey Calwell, Finn McClone, Mark Kim, John Utas.
Coaches: Mike Bemis and Leslie Dahlen. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

In addition to the 2nd place trophy and the Swimmer of the Year award, Camas took home several titles and accolades, including three individual state titles.

Calwell earned the State title for the 200 IM event (151.10) and with it an All American consideration. He also won the 100 Breast (56.53) and an All American time. Senior Lucas Ulmer won the State title for 100 Fly (51.10). He then placed sixth in the 100 Backstroke event.

“This is our best performance in school history,” said Calwell. “I’m so proud of our team. We really pulled together. We gave it our all. I don’t know how we could have swam any better. It was fun to be a part of this.”

The boys placed fourth in all the relays, and were pushed by brothers John and Tom Utas. This was also John’s final State meet.

Camas Freshman, Mark Kim, placed fifth in the 500 Free. He also assisted in the relay events.

Kasey Calwell won two State titles (100 Breast and 200 IM)and earned an All American time. Photo by Dan Trujillo.
Lucas Ulmer at the start of the 100 Back. Photo by Dan Trujillo.
Kasey Calwell on the podium for the 100 Breast win.
Photo by Dan Trujillo.


Calwell’s 1st place medal. Photo by
Dan Trujillo.
Caldwell received the WA 4A State Swimmer of the Year Award.