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FEDERAL WAY, WA — It was his last State meet of his high school career, and for Camas High Senior Lucas Ulmer, it was a dream finish. His name was first on the board, with a time of 51.10 seconds, in a very competitive and tough event.

Ulmer, who was raised in Camas, has been swimming since age 6, and loves every minute of being in the water.

“I absolutely love to swim,” he said, as he savors his state win. “For me, winning the State title is a dream come true. After so many years of hard work, it just feels great!”

The senior Papermaker, known for wearing his trademark colored speedos at most meets, said swimming has helped him focus.

“I have a tendency to lose focus,” he said, “But swimming helps me stay focused what’s right in front of me. The sport has made me a stronger person overall. I’m really grateful to my mom who shuttled me around for years from practice, to tutors, and back and forth to meets. She’s always been there for me. So has my dad.”

He said he’s also grateful for his coaches, both at the high school and at club, and for his teammates.

“I love my teammates,” he added. “They mean a lot to me.”

 

 

Ulmer

Lucas Ulmer is known for wearing flashy speedos at the high school meets. He loves the attention.

KELSO, WA – The Camas Boys Swim Team won the 4A District Championship Saturday at Kelso High School, beating five other schools and breaking multiple records along the way. In total, the Papermakers earned 398 points, as several get ready for State competition this coming weekend.

The Camas Boys Swim team, with Coach Mike Bemis.
The Papermakers got off to a great start with the 200 Medley Relay, placing first (1:40.27) in the first event of the meet. The relay team consisted of Kasey Calwell, John Utas, Lucas Ulmer, and Tom Utas. Columbia River placed second.
In Event 2, the 200 Free, Camas Freshman, Mark Kim, set a new meet record (1:46.43). Stuart Sardo, of Mountain View, placed second. Papermaker Luke Albert placed third.
“I’ve had a great season,” said Albert. “I’ve really increased my times. I’ve gotten better times in the 200. Overall, it was a good competition. I look forward to State.”
Calwell would set another meet record in the 200 IM (1:56.11) moments later. Skyview’s Jake Breuer placed second.
Mountain View’s Chris Xue won the 50 Free (1:21.56) and was closely followed by Max Dolbinin, of Heritage.
Ulmer set a new District meet record in the 100 Fly (53.04). He narrowly edged Union’s Andrew Chang (53.68).
Xue and Dolbinin duked it out again in the 100 Free, with Xue winning (47.97). Dolbinin placed second (49.22). Tom Utas placed third and made a state cut.
Kim beat out the competition in the 500 Free (4:47.46). Papermaker Jeff Fadlovich placed second (5:07.03) and Papermaker Max Crowson placed third (5:24.17).
Mark Kim wins the 500 Free.
From left: Jeff Fadlovich, Noah Macia, and Max Crowson.
The Camas 200 Free Relay team set a new meet and pool record (1:29.49) with their victory in this event. The team consisted of John Utas, Ulmer, Tom Utas and Kim. Mountain View placed second (1:31.84). Finn McClone, of Camas, placed third.
Ulmer also won the 100 Back event (56.56) and was followed by Fadlovich (57.2).
Lucas Ulmer gets ready for the 100 Back event.

Swim Team Reflection

“It’s been a real successful meet,” said Ulmer. “We’ve all worked well together, and I’ve loved it. It’s my last meet at this pool, and we’ve made the best of it. These past four years have been an amazing experience, and it’s been so great getting to know the swimmers from all the other schools.”
Calwell won the 100 Breast event (59.08), but fell just half a second of setting a meet record. Skyview’s Jake Breuer placed second (1:01.75).
The Camas boys also set a new meet record in the 400 Free Relay (3:21.33), which was the final event of the meet. The team included Calwell, Kim, Luke Albert and Fadlovich.
Camas Coach, Mike Bemis, said they’re sending 8 swimmers to State this weekend.
“We’ve had a great meet,” Bemis added. “The boys really stepped it up.”
State competition will be at Federal Way, WA.
Camas won the 200 Medley Relay.

 

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Swim they did.
The Camas High School Boys Swim Team continued its dominance in the pool Wednesday night at Lacamas Swim and Sport Club as they hosted several Vancouver schools (Union, Mountain View, Heritage, and Evergreen).
One of the Camas 400 Free Relay teams. From left: Noah Macia,
Sullivan Carrick, Ian Pinch, and Kevin Chen.
The afternoon kicked off with a Camas victory in the 200 Medley Relay, where the four-member team (Mark Kim, Kasey Calwell, Lucas Ulmer and John Utas) bested their state cut time, earning 1:54.17.
Tom Utas won the 200 Free event with a time of 2:02.31.
Heritage’s Max Dolbinin finishes the 400 Free Relay.
Chris Xiu, of Mountain View, won the 200 IM (2:17.47), and Papermaker Jeff Fadlovich placed second (2:32.40) in the event.
John Utas won the 50 Free (25.94), and Michael Suk of Evergreen placed second (26.68).
“I’m having a good season,” said John. “I’m improving my performance in sprinting. I thought I lost my game, but Coach Mike (Bemis) has really helped me with my technique. Even today, he showed me how I should start off with more power with a couple of strokes and then go into the sprint. It’s paying off.”
Papermakers Lucas Ulmer and Tom Utas battled it out in the 100 Fly competition. Ulmer (1:01.51) narrowly beat Utas (1:01.65). Talk about a tight finish!
Tom Utas (left) and Lucas Ulmer compete in the 100 Fly.

Camas senior Kasey Calwell handily won the 100 Free (55.65). To date, Calwell has earned five state qualifying times this season.

Kasey Calwell wins the 100 Free at Lacamas.
Papermaker Fadlovich won the 400 Free (4:29.30), and Xiu placed second (4:29.79). Camas also dominated the 200 Free Relay, winning with a time of 1:42.58. The team consisted of Mark Kim, Tom Utas, Calwell, and John Utas.
The younger, less experienced swimmers are also making improvements in their times.
“Sullivan Carrick has really improved since he first joined the team,” said John Utas. “He’s really starting to like it. I hope he stays because he’s a good guy to have around. I’m glad he joined the team.”

Seniors Lead the Swim Effort

Ulmer also won the 100 Back event, with a time of 1:04.71. Calwell also bested the 100 Breast (1:09.87).
Lucas Ulmer
400 Free Relay. From left: Lucas Ulmer, Jeff Fadlovich, Tom Utas, and John Utas.
And, for the final event, Camas took the top two spots in the 400 Free Relay. The winners were Ulmer, Tom Utas, John Utas, and Jeff Fadlovich. The second place team consisted of Luke Albert, Max Urbanek, Andrey Khabibrakhmanov, and Finn McClone.
400 Free Relay. From left: Andrey Khabibrakhmanov, Max Urbanek,
Finn McClone, and Luke Albert.
“I just wanted to publicly say thank you to all the boys on the team for the encouragement they give to Brian Andrade, a new member on our team, “said assistant coach, Leslie Dahlen. “They have all stepped up.”
Brian Andrade competes Wednesday night.
Andrade has autism and has really enjoyed being on the team.
The boys compete again next Wednesday at Lacamas Swim and Sport Club.
VANCOUVER — The Camas High School boys swim team won Thursday’s dual meet against Hockinson, Skyview and Fort Vancouver, and set a few state qualifying times along the way.
The Papermakers set the pace, winning the first event, the 200 Medley Relay with a time of 1:45.03. The relay consisted of Lucas Ulmer, Tom Utas, John Utas, and newcomer Andrey Khabibrakhmanov.
Camas 400 Free Relay Team: From left, Mark Kim, Kasey Calwell, Tom Utas,
and Lucas Ulmer
Camas Senior Kasey Calwell bested the 200 Free with a time of 1:47.88. “It’s been a great meet,” said Calwell. “We’re putting in some solid swims.”
Hockinson’s William Morris won the 200 IM shortly afterward. Papermaker Senior, Lucas Ulmer, won the 50 Free, with a time of 23.11 seconds.
“We’re having a great season,” said Ulmer. “We have a lot of new swimmers. It’s so great to have Brian Andrade on the team due to his disability. He really inspires us. We love having him.”
Ulmer made state cuts already in the 100 Free, 100 Fly, and 100 Back.
Lucas Ulmer dives in during the 400 Free Relay.
Papermaker sophomore, Tom Utas, won the 100 Fly with a time of 56 seconds. Calwell then earned a state qualifying time in the 100 Free (49.97 seconds). It was his fifth state qualifying time this season.
Camas freshman, Mark Kim, won the 500 Free and made a state qualifying time with the win.
Camas swimmer, Mark Kim, earned a state qualifying time in the 500 Free.
The Camas boys also won the 200 Free Relay (1:32.44). The relay team consisted of John Utas, Calwell, Tom Utas, and Kim.
Skyview’s Jake Breuer won the 100 Back (55.8). Hockinson’s Jonah Rodewald won the 100 Breast (1:05.68).
And, in the last event, the Papermaker 400 Free Relay of Ulmer, Tom Utas, Kim and Calwell handily beat the competition with a time of 3:21.06.
The team has added several new swimmers, including Andrade, Kim, and Khabibrakhmanov, along with Ian Pinch, Sullivan Carrick, Finn McClone and Max Crowson.
Coach Mike Bemis is pleased with the performance of the boys mid-season, and is looking forward to next week’s major meet against Union — to be held at Lacamas Swim and Sport Club.
“It’s sad that this is coming to an end soon,” Ulmer added. “But it’s been great to have a successful four years at Camas. It went by so fast!”
Calwell will be swimming for University of California — Santa Barbara (UCSB) this fall. Several other seniors haven’t announced their future plans as yet.

KELSO — The undefeated Camas Boys Swim team heads up to Kelso tonight to defend their District title this afternoon. The Papermakers will compete in preliminaries today in events that will gather 3A and 4A teams at the pool.

Finals are tomorrow at noon.

Swim

 

With just one regular season meet left, the Camas Boys Swimming (12-0) is riding a wave of success.

But it hasn’t come easy.
Late last summer, the team learned practice times would move to 5:15 am at the Lacamas Swim and Sport Club. Immediately, the swimmers thought the early hour would affect morale, energy, grades, performance, etc.
But it didn’t.
They rose to the occasion, and like champions they pushed these obstacles out of the way. After a string of 12 victories, the boys, guided by Coach Mike Bemis, and assistant Leslie, continue their daily regimen of swimming 140 laps (3,000-3,500 meters) apiece.
It’s great conditioning, but like Freshman Kevin Chen says, “it’s hard to jump into that cold water at 5:15 every day.”
Swimming

 

CAMAS — Unofficial results show that Camas beat Union 101-69 and Mountain View 120-50 at Lacamas Swim and Sport Club on Wednesday night.

A scoring system issue delayed results, but calculations made by Lacamas Magazine show a clear victory for the Papermakers.

At one point during the meet, it appeared that Camas was losing to Union, but the Papermakers pulled ahead in the last four events of the night: 200 Free Relay, 100 Back, 100 Breast and 400 Free Relay.

“I was getting worried,” said Junior Lucas Ulmer. “Union was getting really competitive.”

Coach Mike Bemis said he was getting worried, as well, but “they pulled it off, and it was nice to get the win.”

 

Team
Members of the Camas 400 Relay C team at the starting block. From left to right: Kevin Chen, Kevin Wang, and Cade Greseth.

 

 

Competitive swimming.

As Camas High School Freshman Ryan Gunther says  “it’s not as easy as it looks.” Gunther, who recently wrapped up his first season as a Papermaker swimmer was surprised by the amount of effort it takes to be a competitive swimmer.

“I did it to stay in shape for the winter,” he says, “so I could be conditioned for track this spring. It was a big surprise. These guys all work really hard and they’re in the best shape.”

Gunther was part of a 35-member Camas Boy’s Swim Team this past season that went undefeated in regular season (8-0) and won the 3A District Championship. On February 18, eight Camas swimmers competed in the State 3A finals and several made it to the awards podium, placing ninth overall in the state.

Pretty amazing.

Especially considering the team placed 21st at State last year and the program itself is only 10 years old. And to top it off, there isn’t a lot of water around here, says Head Coach Mike Bemis. He’s referring to the lack of decent competitive swimming pools in the area.

“I am really proud of the boys,” he said. “Most of them are here twice a day four or five times a week and swim the equivalent of 3.5 miles during our 90-minute practices. They work very, very hard, and it’s paying off.”

Outgoing Senior and co-captain, Ian Ulmer, says “I’m pleased with the effort so many of our players have put into the season.”

Team warms up before State Prelims.
The team practices at Lacamas Swim and Sport Club in Camas and the numbers are impressive. The practices consist of a hodge-podge of several schools (Camas, Hockinson and Prairie) simply because the other schools lack the numbers and “water” to accommodate the swimmers. Basically, the support isn’t there, so Camas takes the leadership.Jaron Hamlik, who is Prairie’s lone swimmer, impressed the viewers at State with his results.

“Jaron has a strong work ethic,” says Ian. “He comes to work at practice every day, and works hard to make himself better, to improve his times.”

Lacamas Magazine came along late to the party this season, but got to spend multiple practices and three separate events with the Camas High School Boy’s Swim team that very recently made it to the podium at the 3A Divisional Championship Games.

It’s a sport that sometimes gets a bad wrap, and too often lacks the coverage or recognition it deserves.

Shaved heads, shaved legs, chlorine, tiny suits, expensive suits, leg suits, all contribute to a perception that things are sort of well, odd. There’s swimmer humor, swimmer jokes – you get the picture. Then you hear guys from other sports say “oh, those swimmers, they’re wimps … we’re way stronger …”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

At our first covered event, the team had just completed their last regular meet at Lacamas and went undefeated. Impressive.

My own sons saw the competition and were amazed at the speed, technique and agility they saw. The 11 year-old said to his younger brother, “dude, look at the muscles on that guy!” while flexing his own biceps.

“Swimmers are the best-conditioned athletes out there,” said Camas resident, Susan Neff, a former swimmer herself. “All the muscles get worked out, the lung capacity increases, and the endurance a swimmer has would beat any football player. Swimmers have it all.”

Bemis agrees.

“These boys get an amazing workout,” he says. “They are in the best shape of their lives.”

Bemis and Co-Captain Nick Kabel said breathing techniques are a big part of competitive swimming. “We train the boys to take one breath along the first leg of any swim. We teach them how breathing properly will help them get through the race. We practice as we would compete. It’s intense.”

Yes it is.

Freshman Kasey Calwell, said “the 6 am practices are grueling and have made for a challenging season.”

It’s no fun arriving at 5:45 am to a cold pool and then swimming for 90 minutes, says Freshman Lucas Ulmer. He along with brother, Ian, generally attend two practices a day. The schedule makes staying awake during the day a challenge at times.

Once you realize what these swimmers go through, you find the meets much more interesting. It’s more than a body gliding through the water. It’s about technique, diving in correctly, breathing correctly, flipping correctly. It’s about properly synchronizing the entire body. It’s about inches and centimeters of space between the water and the wall. Seconds and milliseconds separate champions. For these guys, times are the focus of entire discussions.

Nick Kabel
Anxiety. Awaiting results.

“I want to get under a minute,” says Jake Yraceburu. “If I can just get it under one minute.”

Again, it’s impressive.

And then there are the emotions.

“Seventy percent of swimming in my opinion is mental,” says Calwell. “From the suit to shaving to the meet itself and the competition. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.”

Calwell himself experience trouble with his high-tech suit at State. “It kept bubbling up on me – it was frustrating,” he said. The fabric on his suit fits like a second skin as it repels water, and can cost several hundred dollars.

We watched the swimmers at several practices, and then at three events: 1) The final regular season game; 2) The District Championships; and 3) The State Finals.

The boys worked hard at each practice, paying close attention to their coach’s instructions and then competed with the same level of intensity. Confidence exuded at the regular season closer and again at the District Championship meet in Kelso, where they won handily. Smiles were on many faces.

But at the State Prelims you could sense the nervousness on many of their faces. Exuberance and energy a week earlier had turned into edginess and bickering.

For several, it was the first time competing at State. And it is daunting. The King County Aquatic Center is a massive structure, and the boys were in the presence of dozens of other schools whose goal it was to simply crush everyone in their way.

It was sea of athletes, literally. It’s amazing how a swim cap and goggles changes a person’s persona. They’re competitors, and it’s their job to intimidate you.

Swimmers from Shorewood could be overhead talking smack about a particular Camas swimmer.

At prelims, one Camas swimmer was eliminated, and another was disqualified for not touching a wall sensor.

Bemis had several one-on-one’s with his team, and you could see the disappointed faces on several of the athletes.

Times at the heats weren’t as good as expected and the top 8 finishes, in many cases, weren’t happening.

Frustration set in, but eventually most tried to shake it off.

Calwell said at the end of prelims: “You have nothing to lose if you’re in 8th place — I can shake this off.”

Kabel, who a week earlier set a pool record in the 50 Free at Districts struggled at State.

“I didn’t do my best today and I’m really disappointed,” he said.

Calwell provided his perspective on State: “Well for me prelims is just a warm-up to the big event for finals. Sometimes, for some people, there’s more pressure for prelims than for finals because they need to lock a certain place in an event. I really wanted championship finals in the 100 breast and 200 IM but didn’t get it in prelims. Still I barely got some best times and came out of the meet feeling good.”

Calwell continued: “As Jake said, I sometimes feel really ready to take it on and sometimes I just don’t feel in the groove. Today, I felt really good and ready to take on anything. I don’t know but on prelims I was very frustrated as you saw, and I just was tired and couldn’t get momentum. But I got a little momentum at the end of yesterday and was able to ride the wave coming into today.”

Lucas Ulmer, though, was calm about everything. “I’m totally confident about finals, no worries, we’ll be fine,” he said.

Everyone turned it around the very next day. They really wanted to get Top 8 in their events.

And they did it in two of three relays – placing eighth in the 200 Medley Relay and 7th in the 200 Free Relay. Here were the teams:

  • 200 Medley Relay: 8th place, consisting of Lucas Ulmer, Jake Yraceburu, Nick Kabel, and John Utas.
  • 200 Free Relay: 7th place, consisting of John Utas, Kasey Calwell, Jake Yraceburu, and Nick Kabel.

And Jake Yraceburu tied for 5th place in the 100 Breaststroke.

All are amazing feats.

Kabel was happy with the overall season and how well his teammates performed.

Now that the season is over, the boys can contemplate on the experiences, on what they learned and on what’s next.

For Kabel, Ulmer and several other teammates, it’s the end of the line for high school. In the fall, they’ll report to their chosen colleges, and look back on the years they had together building a swimming program.

“It’s been a blast,” said Kabel. “We’re leaving the program in good hands with such great Freshmen swimmers. Look at what they can do.”

For the Freshmen and others, it’ll be, says Calwell “about I think I can improve on turns, starts, and little innuendoes on my swimming. I need to clean up on the little stuff. They all add up after a while.”

And they do.