Tag Archive for: Boys Swimming

At the Camas City Council workshop meeting Monday night, the council unanimously gave direction to city staff to prepare a general obligation bond this November to fund the construction of a new aquatics center.

The news is a major breakthrough in the years-long battle to build a new aquatics center to accommodate the growing demands of all competitive and recreational swimmers, as well as address learn-to-swim and health-related programs.

“We gave staff direction to look at the Buhman property, which is adjacent to Fallen Leaf Lake, across from Heritage Park,” said Camas Mayor, Shannon Turk. “The land, which is just over six acres, is already owned by the City of Camas, and Camas residents have made it very clear they want a new pool. I feel this is a positive step forward.”

Monday’s motion gives staff direction to prepare a general obligation bond that will be presented to voters on the November ballot. The general obligation bond would fund the construction of the new aquatics center.

“Council will look at other sites in Camas, as well, and to look at getting a general obligation bond, which is putting a vote to the people on whether they would be willing to pay for a new pool,” said Turk.

Aquatics Center
Archived plans for a pool site near Fall Leaf Lake.

Over the past several months, Camas has been meeting with Washougal to build a community center that has a pool, and Turk said it was time to change the direction.

“Although we’re not saying no to a partnership with Washougal, we feel it’s in our best interest to go forward without them,” said Turk. “The meetings with Washougal weren’t moving this forward.”

City Council member, Melissa Smith, agreed.

“The bond amount hasn’t been determined, and this directs staff to look at property and put in a phased approach,” said Smith. “Timing is in November, and we would have to know the bond amount by August 6.”

Smith added there is potential to buy surrounding parcels, but that’s very preliminary.

“We could accommodate the needs for a 50,000 square foot pool facility,” said Smith. “If we went further and wanted to add more, there would be potential for that.”

Turk said this general obligation bond would be offset by the retiring of the Camas Public Library general obligation bond, which happens in 2019. “This bond would be offsetting,” she said.


Smith said the city staff will also exhaust every possible site, and that preparing this for the November ballot is a super tight timeframe, but doable.

“We have to take advantage of the momentum,” said City Council member, Don Chaney. “Shannon embraces this. We have a chance to do it. If the people say no, they say no. The challenge will be to make the timeline. The community will see that we heard them.”

The city has made numerous failed attempts to build a new aquatics center over the years, but Turk is determined.

“We’re not going to fail anymore,” said Turk.

Chaney said this location is optimum.

“People talk about location,” said Chaney. “I have a different view, it has to be a destination. It’s like Crown Park, and a competitive pool will bring money to downtown. This plan has full council support. We are re-engineering the intersection there, and that will be a big improvement. It was a great meeting today. Everyone should be happy with that meeting.”

Aquatics Center
A pool concept used in Camas pool planning.

Camas has been feeling the effects of losing access to aquatic centers over the past two years. First, the Crown Park Pool was closed, and then Camas High School swim teams were no longer allowed to use the Lacamas Athletic Club’s pool.

“It’s been a real challenge,” said Dave Peddie, a part of the 2018 State Champion Camas High School Boys Swim team. “Losing our home pool hurt us.”

Local residents have also been dismayed at losing the Crown Park Pool, feeling like their children are missing out on great summertime experiences, as well as the loss of valuable swimming lessons.

“This is great news,” said Darlene Lumbard, Head Coach of Columbia River Swim Team. “This is a chance to build a pool for everyone. We can all come together with a good design to reach all the things our community needs. A center encompasses all kinds of things with a competitive pool. Building the right aquatics center will have everything from competitive to therapeutic. It should have all the necessary programming.

“A well-run aquatics center has a private team, a high school team, recreation, learn to swim, scuba, kayak training, water therapy, silver sneakers. I would prefer a deep end because you can do so much more with a deep end. You can do synchro, diving, and water polo. This is a great opportunity to build the right pool. There’s no diving in the community, and there are a lot of gymnasts here. The deep end should go into a five foot, and then maybe with an L to it, where you have your learn-to-swim pool. You can put in your therapeutic work there, as well. This is so exciting!”

The next article will look at aquatics center design options and what they can do for a community.

Gallery: Examples of Aquatics Centers

Longview, WA — The Camas Boys Swim Team handily won the 14-school Southwest Washington Invitational Saturday, with 691 points, distancing second place Columbia River by 332 points.

The annual invitational typically includes all local high schools, and one from the north — which this year was Aberdeen.

The Papermakers won the meet with multiple team members down to health or injury, and have been struggling to get state qualifying times.

”So far, we only have one state qualifying time,” said Camas co-captain, Chris Xia. “Usually, we have a lot more at this point in the season, so we’re hoping we can get more state times at Districts in two weeks.”

The Papermakers got off to a great start in the 200 Medley Relay, with both A and B relay teams taking first and second  place, respectively. The A team (Josef Kiesenhofer, Austin Fogel, Jaden Kim, and Chris Xia) timed in at 1:42.60 with the B team (Dave Peddie, Jack Harris, Emanuel Crisan-Dum, and Victor Wu) finishing with 1:47.60. Kelso placed third.

Harris won the 200 Free (1:52.35) narrowly beating Peddie (1:53.21). Simon Parish, of Columbia River, placed third.

Skyview’s Jace Creech won the 200 IM event (2:04.95) with Battle Ground’s Alex Curran placing second (2:06.82) and Daniel Ishchuk placing third.

Skyview’s Liam Johnson won the ultra-competitive 50 Free (22.94) with Kodee Soetamin, of Mark Morris, placing second (23.29) and Papermaker Jaden Kim third (23.41).

Kim would win the 100 Fly right after (53.28) with Johnson, second (56.40) and Washougal’s Daniel Brown, third (56.49).

Soetamin won the 100 Free (50.37) narrowly beating Harris (50.93) and Chris Xia (52.36).

Peddie handily won the 500 Free (4:48.84) with Skyview’s Jace Creech placing second (5:09.07) and Prairie’s Jonah Colagross placing third (5:26.02).

Swim Team

Luke Bales, right, enters the pool.

Camas took first place in the 200 Free Relay. Luke Bales, Xia, Harris and Kim (1:32.46) bested Skyview (1:34.29). The Camas B Relay placed third.

Battle Ground’s Alex Curran won the 100 Back event (55.00) with Union’s Tony Kajino second (56.24) and Battle Ground’s Andrew Schivalocchi placing third (1:00.02).

Papermaker’s Austin Fogel handily won the 100 Breast (1:02.80) with Skyview’s Khai Tran second (1:04.77) and Mark Morris’ Ryan Pospichal placing third (1:08.91).

Camas took the top spot in the meet’s final event, the 400 Free. Xia, Peddie, Bales Andy Harris finished in at 3:24.30. Mark Morris second at 3:39.93, and Battle Ground at 3:43.67.

The boys are preparing for Districts in two weeks, and State in the middle of February. The two-time State champions have a lot of catching up to do, so “we’re focused on getting more state qualifying times during this time,” said Xia.



Camas, WA — The Camas Boys swim team (2-2) handily defeated Vancouver Schools (Skyview, Hudson’s Bay, Fort Vancouver and Columbia River) at Wednesday’s meet at Lacamas Athletic Club.

”It was strange to be visitors at a pool that’s always been our home,” said Camas senior, Jake Duerfeldt. “It’s all been strange this year, but we’re overcoming it, and we have a lot of new talent.”

Two swimmers also made State cuts Wednesday: Washougal’s Isaiah Ross in the 200 Free and 100 Fly; and Papermaker Jaden Kim in the 100 Fly.

Camas got off to a great start winning the 200m medley relay. Washougal’s Ross won the 200 Free, followed by Papermaker Dave Peddie, a sophomore.

Kim won the 50 Free, followed by sprinter Ben Taylor, who keeps gaining momentum.

”We’re really pleased with the speed of Ben and Luke (Bales),” said team co-captain, Austin Fogel, who has two State champion rings. “We’re overcoming a lot this swim season, and it’s great to see team members stepping up. The pool change has really created some challenges as some have trouble getting to Cascade to even practice.”

Peddie said the team got off to a bumpy start by facing Curtis (near Seattle) at the season opener.

”They had like three times our numbers, so it made it really challenging,” said Peddie. “Then when we went to Pasco, we only had like 11 swimmers. We made it up at Kelso, and we’re getting better every practice.”


Final team scores:

Camas 211, Skyview 66

Camas 171, Columbia River 113

Camas 225, Hudson’s Bay 33

Camas 272, Fort Vancouver 11

Official and final individual scores haven’t been reported as yet, as they weren’t yet provided by the host. As soon as those numbers come in, we’ll update this article.


Camas, WA — The two-time, back-to-back State Champion Camas High School (CHS) Boys Swim team lost their home pool several weeks ago as negotiations between Lacamas Athletic Club and the CHS Athletics Department failed to reach an agreement.

Fortunately, Cascade Athletic Club stepped up and took in the displaced team, but it hasn’t been without challenges. The venue change has forced the Varsity swimmers to begin practices at 5:30 am, which gives the boys ample lane space to maximize workouts. Junior Varsity practices in the evenings, beginning at 7:15, which alleviates lane congestion.

It also forces the champion athletes to get up before 5 am, travel to Vancouver, practice, then rush to shower, change, and drive or bus to CHS. It’s not ideal, but the team is adjusting.

“It takes an extra 10 minutes to get here,” said CHS sophomore, Jack Harris. “We have to get here pretty early. It’s not too bad, at least we have afternoons to get homework done, but it’s still a big change from last year. We’ll do our best given the situation.”

On day one, Head Coach Mike Bemis gave the entire team a tour of the facility, and thanked Cascade for their generosity. The team practices alongside competitors at Union, Mountain View, Evergreen, and Heritage.

“We’re treating this season like a new season,” said co-captain, Chris Xia. “We’re not really gonna focus on our past titles, we’re just going into this year trying our best and yeah we have some swimmers who have left, but we’re just gonna try to make up for them, and do the best we can.”


Camas Swim team captains, from left: Chris Xia and Austin Fogel.

The team won State titles in 2017 and 2018, thanks to amazing talent, and coaching strategies. But, they also lost three star athletes — Finn McClone and Mark Kim — to graduation, as well as Eric Wu, who dropped the team this year because of losing Lacamas Athletic Club as their home pool.

“The Camas High School Boys swim team is about to start training for our third state title,” said Wu. “I find it near impossible if we can’t do that without our pool. The past few seasons we were able to train in the afternoon at Lacamas. Not only does swimming in the morning affect our training, but it affects our whole day during school. Without proper sleep and a home pool, how will we put together another strong state team?”

Losing Wu was a blow, but the team is soul-searching, and working hard to fill in the gaps.

”We’re still gonna try hard to defend our State title,” said co-captain, Austin Fogel. “Hopefully some of the underclass men will step up and fill those shoes. We have some really fast swimmers.”

Their first meet of the season is today at Curtis High School.




So, how did a two-time State Championship team lose their home pool?

Several months ago, Denise Croucher, owner and operator of Lacamas Athletic Club, expressed her desire to have a member of her club staff serve as assistant coach to both the boys and girls Camas High School (CHS) swim teams. Athletes from several private clubs swim for CHS, including Lacamas Headhunters, Columbia River Swim Team (CRST), Portland Athletic Club, and Mt. Hood.

CHS and Bemis say Croucher wanted to be head coach, which Croucher denies.

Croucher’s demand to coach was met with resistance from CHS, whose loyalty remains to Bemis, who has brought home two back-to-back state champions. Negotiations between the two entities ended with the girl’s team being forced out and finding a new, temporary home at Cascade Athletic Club.

“Yes, we will continue to swim at Cascade Athletic Club for the boys season,” said Rory Oster, CHS Athletic Director. “We are grateful for the great management and leadership at Cascade who is willing to do whatever they can to help our program, and we will make it work. Again, our preference would be to swim at the local Lacamas Athletic Club and are disappointed an agreement could not be made.”


Front, left to right: Jack Duerfeldt and Luke Bales. Back, left to right: Zach Macia and Ben Taylor.

Croucher said she thought they were still in negotations, and was shocked when the girl’s team switched over to Cascade. At the time, CHS had hoped they could salvage the relationship and keep the Lacamas pool for the boy’s season.

There’s been bad blood between Croucher and CRST for more than 15 years, but Darlene Hill, owner and operator of CRST, says “There’s nothing there that can’t be fixed — the focus should be on the kids who all get along very well. The swimming community generally gets along well. This is very obtuse.”

Bemis said over the years Lacamas Athletic Club has manufactured tensions, but “we always found a way to work it out.”

Parents have complained that Lacamas Athetic Club management was seldom prepared for home meets, and that facilities haven’t been properly maintained. Croucher said their facilities were vandalized during home meets, and that the costs of opening the pool for the CHS team were too high. CHS pays $20,000 each season to Lacamas Athletic Club to lease lanes at their facility, said Croucher.

“They pulled all shower plumbing off the locker rooms, they played with heaters and they ruined a locker room heater,” said Croucher. “Other teams would leave a mess in the locker room after each swim meet. We had a huge mess every single day after practice. Garbage strewed across the locker room. The attitude was very negative from outside swimmers. They don’t respect it like its theirs.  Honestly, sometimes I don’t think we want them back here. It has been so nice to have our team, staff and employees without the high school teams.”

But, she also feels bad a deal couldn’t be worked out.

“It’s not something we really want,” said Croucher. “We want the kids to be able to swim, so I’m a supporter of that. But, we have to find a way that it doesn’t impact the business so much. I also want a member of my staff coaching the team, that way our interests are represented at every practice, and at every meet. I’m open to suggestions.”


From left: Chris Xia, Dave Peddie, and Austin Fogel.

Bemis said the politics of the situation have been a challenge for more than a decade, and that they’ve always found a way to work it out. But, not this year.

“Leslie (the assistant coach) and I aren’t even allowed on the Lacamas Athletic Club premises anymore,” said Bemis. “It’s gotten that bad. Denise wants to coach both Camas High School teams, and if she doesn’t get that, then the Camas teams aren’t allowed to practice or compete there. It’s not a good decision.”

Bailey Segall, of the CHS Girls swim team, said that Lacamas Headhunter swimmers even petitioned Croucher to change their minds.

”They went in there and begged Denise to change her mind, but she wouldn’t listen,” said Segall. “Nobody is really happy about this.”

By Dan Trujillo

Daniel Brown, Isaiah Ross and Landon Schmid are blazing a trail for Washougal swimmers.

Ross qualified for state in the 200-meter freestyle and the 100 butterfly during Saturday’s 2A district championship meet, at Mark Morris High School in Longview. Brown also punched his ticket to the King County Aquatic Center in the 50 free and could be considered as a wild card entry into the state 100 butterfly swim.

Brown and Ross raced side-by-side in the 100 fly Saturday. Ross clinched first place and set a new district meet record time of 59.1 seconds. Joe Dodd of Hockinson followed in second place, and Brown grabbed third place.

“It was cool to race a teammate,” Ross said. “And then Joe on the other side, he was really fast. It was a good race. I was amped up for it.”

Dodd and Ross exchanged leads throughout the two laps, until Ross surged ahead during the final 25 meters to the wall.

“It was intense, but I wasn’t going to let him beat me,” Ross said.

Brown earned second place in the 50 free with a time of 23.02 seconds. Dodd won the race in 22.44. Ross earned second place in the 200 free with a time of 1:43.74. Josh Bottelberghe of Columbia River clinched first place in 1:43.74.


Washougal Swimmers: From left: Daniel Brown, Landon Schmid, and Isaiah Ross.



Daniel Brown, left, and Isaiah Ross, both of Washougal compete at 2A Districts.

“My goal is to win state in the 100 fly and be right up there with Josh in the 200 free,” Ross said.

Brown, Ross and Schmid have been swimming together for the past three years. They hope a fourth member from Washougal joins the team next season so they can compete in the relay races during their senior year.

They say the more Panthers in the pool, the merrier.

The 2A state boys swimming championships take place Friday and Saturday evening at the King County Aquatic Center, in Federal Way.

For event times and results during the state meet, visit www.wiaa.com. Updates will also be available on the Lacamas Magazine’s Twitter feed.



On the awards podium for the 100 Fly. Isaiah Ross is center (first place), and Dan is second from right (third place). Joe Dodd placed second.

More Washougal Swim Images

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

LONGVIEW, WA — The Camas High Boys Swim team (the 2017 4A State swimming champions) handily defeated RA Long and Mark Morris in their first meet of the season. The fast-moving meet got off to a good start with a win by the Camas 200 Medley Relay team, which included Finn McClone, Jaden Kim, Austin Fogel, and Mark Kim.

Meet Results:

  • Washougal’s Isaiah Ross won the 200 Free, and was followed by Papermaker Freshmen Jack Harris, and Dave Peddie.
  • State Champion and Camas co-captain, Mark Kim, won the 200 IM, and was followed by Papermaker’s Finn McClone and Junha Lee.
  • Jaden Kim won the 50 Free event, and Luke Bales placed second.
  • Jaden Kim also won the 100 Fly, and Fogel placed second.
  • Mark Kim won the 100 Free event, and Zachary Macia placed second.
  • Ross won the 500 Free event, while Peddie placed second.
  • Mark Morris won the 200 Free Relay.
  • McClone won the 100 Back event, and Macia placed second. Fogel won the 100 Breast, while Aaron Lee placed second.
  • And, in the 400 Free Relay, the team of Jaden Kim, Fogel, McClone, and Mark Kim won.

“This was a small dual meet so we just pushed through,” said Mark Kim. “We’re definitely working our hardest at every practice and improving our time, but we are focusing on the bigger meets.”

What’s next?

The boys head to Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA this Saturday for a tougher, more competitive meet.

“It’ll be a 15-hour day,” said McClone. “We leave Camas at 5:30 am this Saturday. It’ll be good to see the competition from that part of the state.”

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

Swim Image Gallery

As state champion swimmer and 2017 Camas graduate, Tom Utas, embarks on his college career at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, we look back at his high school swimming career, how it took shape, and what it did for his character and those around him.

Last February, Utas won first place in the State 4A 50 Free Swim event (21.07), and was a leader for his Camas swim team that took first place at State — the first time in Camas history. At that same State meet, he added another team record placing third in the 100 Free (46.74). It was a moment he and his team will never forget, and one they spent years preparing.

Leading up to that are multiple District Championship titles, dozens of personal placements, and more recently, Utas reset two Columbia River Swim Team (CRST) team records at the OSI Arena Championships this past summer.  Tom went 24.15 in the 50 Free and 53.34 in the 100 Free. He also swam in the Finals at Future Nationals in August, which shows colleges that a swimmer is up for anything.

“I think swimming taught me to be part of something that allowed me to be a better version of myself,” said Utas. “Competitions pushing my limit to achieve goals I never thought possible, and being part of a team of swimmers and a coaching staff that provides you with the connections to build friendships and trust among peers through training and teamwork. I’m grateful for the opportunities that the sport and my team has given me, and the lesson and work ethic it gave me is what inspires me to continue to swim today, and remember the positive memories the sport gave me.”

Utas, along with his older brother, John, spent four years swimming for Camas, bringing home a large cache of medals and personal, as well as team achievements. He also swam for 10 years with CRST, and was coached by Darlene Hill, and Mike Bemis.

“He’s always ready to race, he has a racing mentality,” said teammate, Max Dolbinin, a 2017 Heritage High graduate. “Especially on the relays, if we need a certain time out of him, we always now he will execute it. Racing against him is always fun because we always push each other to our limits.”



Tom competes in the 50 Free at Districts in 2016.


Utas speaks fondly of his coaches and teammates through the years.

“They always pushed me to excel, and were supportive at every practice, and at every race,” said Utas. “What I’ve enjoyed the most are the friendships with my teammates and coaches.”

The feeling is mutual.

Hill sat down and talked about the history with Utas, and what he’s meant to their team.

“Tom and his brother, John, had been swimming at another club, which had changed their coaching management,” said Hill. “Things didn’t work out there, and so after working with them here, we learned pretty quickly they’re sprinters. Specifically, they’re drop dead sprinters, and can really only do condensed, specific practice sessions. We knew quickly how to work on what they needed to be successful. A true drop dead swimmer can’t do longer events repeatedly.”

Hill said they trained Tom was trained on technique and high focus skills for racing. Those high focus skills include racing off the block, and building up core energy. He focused on these skills at every practice, and it paid off.

“He’d get his center of balance and hold that for a long period of time,” said Hill. “He have me watch and we’d work on that together. You get faster when you focus.”

She said Tom lead the team on how to be a natural swimmer, and because of his achievements, he’s helped make the CRST swim program grow.

“Tom helped carry this,” said Hill. “He’s given so much to the sport, and has encouraged so many other swimmers to excel.”

Bemis agrees.

“He’s been a great competitor for Camas,” said Bemis, who coached him as he presented Camas High School for four years. “He’s been a great leader.”

Utas said he loves the sport, and that being part of such a great program has made him a better person overall.

“I am so grateful for all these experiences,” said Utas. “It’s all been great.”



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A Bright Future for Utas

Utas has just started to swim at the collegiate level for the University of Lethbridge while studying Biochemistry. He’s looking forward to swimming at a higher level, while studying for a promising career.

“He’ll do well at whatever he tries,” said Hill. “We will miss Tom. He’s been a big part of our club.”

To learn more, visit crstwaveriders.org


Daniil Timchenko begins the 100 Back event. Photo by Blake Schnell.

LONGVIEW, WA — Swimming was definitely interesting today. The Camas High School Boy’s swim team won the Southwest Washington Swim Invitational Saturday at Mark Morris High School, with a final score of 602.5 points. Mountain View and Mark Morris rounded out the top three.The meet was halted near the end of the first event due to a septic overflow that spilled onto the pool deck, causing a public health hazard. This caused over an hour delay, which resulted in the athletes waiting and playing hoops in the gym, many still wearing their swimsuits and caps.

Waiting in the Mark Morris gym, by Blake Schnell.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sheri Breuer, a Skyview coach and meet referee.
The athletes spent the time playing hoops, most were barefoot, playing duck-duck-goose, or playing games.

Once crews cleaned up the mess, the event resumed.

“It was a good meet for us,” said Head Coach, Mike Bemis. “We’re right where we were supposed to be. We did really well. I’m pleased.”

While the Papermakers didn’t dominate as many individual events, as they have in previous years, they came out ahead overall, as a young team working to overcome the strength of losing a commanding senior team last season. The void left by state champions Kasey Calwell and Lucas Ulmer, as well as state swimmer, John Utas, has been felt all season.

Bemis said the Camas team is a young one now, and he’s pleased with the performance of several new freshman swimmers. In particular, Eric Wu, Chris Xia, and Austin Fogel are standout freshmen. The Papermakers have also added Washougal swimmers (who practice with them) to the mix. They include freshman Landon Schmid, Isaiah Ross, and Daniel Brown.

“The Freshman are helping offset the loss of last year’s stars,” said co-captain, junior Luke Albert. “Plus, swimmers like Tom Utas have made state cuts. I think Tom has made state cuts in the 100 Free, 50 Free and the 100 Breast.”

Bemis added: “You don’t replace State champions very easily. We have four years to get there, and such is the cycle of high school sports. We’re young and growing, and learning how to be a team. The team came together Saturday to win the meet. Here’s a breakdown of the individual events.


Isaiah Ross won two events at the SW WA Invitational.

Swimming Event Results

Event 1 – 200 Medley Relay: Mountain View won (1:37.99), followed by Union A and B relays, and Mark Morris. Camas placed fifth.

Event 2 – 200 Freestyle: Isaiah Ross, of Washougal won (1:54.59), followed by Sam Walker, of Columbia River (1:54.77), and Nathan Hwang, of Union (2:03.04).

Event 3 – 200 IM: Eric Wu, of Camas, won (2:00.95), followed by Tom Utas, of Camas (2:05.02), and Austin Fogel, of Camas (2:07.26).

Event 4 – 50 Free: Josh Bottelberghe, of Columbia River, won (22.94), followed by Stuart Sardo, of Mountain View (24.32), and Michael Suk, of Mountain View (24.74).

Event 6 (no event 5) 100 Fly: Andrew Chang, of Union, won (53.53), followed by Josh Bottelberghe, of Columbia River (53.67), and Jacob McCarthy, of Mountain View (59.08).

Papermakers Austin Fogel (center), and Tom Utas (left) compete in the 200 IM.

Event 7 – 100 Free: Max Dolbinin, of Heritage, won (49.95), followed by Luke Albert, of Camas (52.27), and Chris Joa, of Mountain View (53.12).

Event 8 – 500 Free: Isaiah Ross, of Washougal, won (5:07.05), followed by Finn McClone, of Camas (5:17.74), and Tom Utas, also of Camas (5:19.27).

Event 9 – 200 Free Relay: Camas won (1:33.79), followed by Mountain View (1:36.00) and Camas B relay ( 1:42.02).

Andrey Khabibrakhmanov enters the pool. Photo by Blake Schnell.
Papermaker Austin Fogel waits for his first event.

Event 10 – 100 Back: Andrew Chang, of Union, won (56.20), followed by Jeff Fadlovich, of Camas (57.38), and Finn McClone, also of Camas (57.99).

Event 11 – 100 Breaststroke: Eric Wu, of Camas, won (1:02.69), followed by Max Dolbinin , of Heritage (1:06.53), and Austin Fogel, of Camas (1:07.25).

Event 12 – 200 Free Relay: Camas won the event (3:28.08). The team consisted of Tom Utas, Eric Wu, Finn McClone, and Luke Albert.

The team will convene once more, in two weeks, to compete at the 2016 District Championship, in Kelso. Many are still hoping to make state cuts at that event.


Max Dolbinin, of Heritage High School.


Papermaker swimmers cheer on teammates in the pool.


100 Back swimmers: From left: Sullivan Carrick, Landon Schmid, Daniel Brown, and Daniil Timchenko.

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


Federal Way, WA — Top local swimmer Kasey Calwell has qualified and will attend the Speedo Junior National Championships to be held this week (Dec. 10-13) at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington.

Top high school aged and future collegiate swim talent from all over the country will attend this once a year meet and compete at the highest level. Calwell will be competing in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 Individual Medley.
“I’m really excited and a bit nervous about the whole thing,” said Calwell. “These guys swim crazy fast! We’ll see how it goes.”
Kasey Calwell (left), with fellow teammates, Jonah Rodewald, Lucas Ulmer
and Chris Xue at the King County Aquatic Center. Photo by Max Dolbinin.


Calwell is an 18-year-old Senior from Camas and swims for both the Camas High School team and Columbia River Swim Team in Vancouver. He is the only male Clark County swimmer to qualify. Calwell has had a successful swimming career. He moved to Camas prior to his Freshman year. Before that, he lived in Ohio.
Cassidy Brennan of Camas, who swims with Tualatin Hills in Oregon will also be in attendance. Calwell has verbally committed to the University of California-Santa Barbara to swim next fall.