Camas, WA — After many weeks of negotiations between Lacamas Athletic Club and Camas High School (CHS), the school’s athletic program was forced to find a new home for the Girl’s swim team this season, and is leaving the future home of the two-time State Championship winning Boy’s swim team in doubt.

“Our girls swim program will be swimming this season at Cascade Athletic Club,” said CHS Athletic Director, Rory Oster. “Cascade Athletic Club and Evergreen School District has been excellent in working with us to accommodate our kids. All I can say is that our preference would be to have Camas High School girl’s swim program using Lacamas Athletic Club facilities. Unfortunately an agreement could not be made in order to do so for this upcoming swim season, my hope is that our boys swim team will be able to use Lacamas Athletic facilities as again, that is the preference of Camas School District Athletic Department.”

Oster said that Camas High School will not have any “home meets” and that all of their competitions will be at other pools.

In June, Denise Croucher, owner of Lacamas Athletic Club, approached Oster with demands that CHS could not meet. Among those initial demands, according to Mike Bemis, CHS Head Swim Coach, was to find another coach who wasn’t affliated with Columbia River Swim Team (CRST) — a competitor of the Lacamas Athletic Club’s Headhunters private club swim team. Bemis is a two-time State Championship swim coach for CHS, and the team won back-to-back State titles in 2017 and 2018.

Camas reaffirmed their loyalty and commitment to Bemis and his successful program.

According to Bemis, Lacamas Athletic Club accused him and CRST of recruiting athletes away from the Headhunters program.

”Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Bemis. “These are great kids and we have athletes from multiple clubs who compete for Camas High School. The athletes all get along quite well, and it shows with their accomplishments. CRST, for which I work very part-time, has not recruited any athletes from Lacamas or any other club.”

Bemis said the final gap that couldn’t be bridged was that Lacamas Athletic Club also demanded that Bemis sign an agreement between CRST and Lacamas Athletic Club that neither club could recruit any swimmers from each other’s clubs that are aged 14 or older, and that after turning 14, they could never switch club teams.

”That’s an agreement I simply could not sign,” said Bemis. “I have no authority to do that, and the owner of CRST was never approached. Such an agreement also infringes on parental choice as to where they want their child to practice and compete.”



Camas High School girls swimmers hold up the US flag during the pledge of allegiance at a 2017 home meet.

The management at CRST concurs.

”We were never approached by Denise or anyone at Lacamas Athletic Club with an agreement,” said Darlene Lumbard, owner of CRST. “I even spent four days next to Denise at a recent club meet and nothing was ever said. In fact, the kids from both programs get along very well.”

When Lacamas Magazine approached Croucher in late June about possible outcomes, Croucher said of Oster: “He may be considering moving the team, but this is not the outcome we are hoping for.”

Following the official move to Cascade, Croucher was asked to reply to details about the negotiations, and she said:
”Our agreement with the school district had to be re-negotiated because the current terms no longer worked due to the time changes at the school district; they could no longer swim at 2:30 pm. It is not uncommon to renegotiate the terms yearly if needed. With our drastic membership growth over the past two years, the members’ pool usage has also increased. This makes an agreement more difficult as we have to keep our valuable member’s needs a top priority. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement this year that worked for both parties. Being a private business, we will not discuss the details of a business agreement. Hopefully we can accommodate the school district’s pool rental needs in the future.”

At one of the 2017 Camas High School home swim meets.

“I think again this just goes to show you that you can’t demand this upon parents,” said CHS Assistant Swim Coach, Leslie Levesque. “She [Croucher] has no legal ground to stand on. Parents have the right to decided which club their kids swim in. This is absurd. And Mike said we can easily practice in the morning times at Lacamas as we did last year.”
The move has scheduling, traffic, and other complications, and poses some additional burdens on the coaches, Cascade Athletic Club, and the parents. Bemis also expressed gratitude toward Cascade for making this accommodation. The club will see how things go with the girl’s season, and then make decisions about the future with the boy’s season. Levesque said CHS will have two lanes at Cascade Athletic Club from at 5:30 am, 6:15 am, and 7:15-8:45 each evening, and will share the pool with CRST.

Camas High and Washougal High School seniors honored at Senior Night.

Making It Work
“We’ve been put out to pasture,” said Bemis. “This makes it a lot tougher to keep winning championships. It creates travel issues. No home meets. It’s hard to build up new kids in a situation like this. It makes it more challenging to get to the facilities. This is my biggest fear. It’s been challenging to work with Lacamas Athletic Club over the years but we’ve always made it work these past 12 years — until now. We’re really grateful to Mitch Merwin at Cascade — he’s been great to work with. He’s been very helpful.”

Swimming at a home meet.

A Parent’s Perspective
“Well, besides the Lacamas pool being a beautiful facility, I’m glad the Camas school district isn’t playing the blackmail game,” said Sarah Segall, mother of CHS swimmer, Bailey Segall. “Denise never treated the swimmers well and frequently wouldn’t have the pool open when they arrived for an early morning practice. It will be tight to have all the swimmers at Cascade but the girls seem excited about the opportunity to train with each other. Although it’s not ideal for them to drive so far across town for their practice, it will show their dedication to the sport. It would be great if the city of Camas were made aware of the need for a facility for the community as well as for the high level swim program at the high school. CHS is still working out details on transportation from morning practices to school, and is uncertain how this will impact the boy’s swim team season.”

The future of practice and home meets is in question for the 2X State Championship winning CHS Boys Swim Team.

“For practice we are able to give our students options for attendance so it has the ability to fit everyone’s schedule,” said Oster. “Camas SD and Evergreen SD will be sharing facilities during practice times. Our hope is that Lacamas Athletic Club has a change of heart by the time boys season begins and welcomes us back to our prior relationship which has always been positive and effective.”

Statement from Camas City Councilor Rusch

“Although the only information I have on this is what’s been reported in your article, this is disappointing,” said Camas City Councilor, Deanna Rusch. “However, I can say the City is actively working to pursue a year round pool/aquatic center/community center. A multi jurisdictional committee is set to begin meetings September 5 to discuss this. I look forward to serving on this committee and to helping to further the current momentum and progress we are having on making sure Camas has a safe and fun place to swim. My goal would be to provide a year round facility for our swimmers and divers.

Further, although the existing Crown Park pool will be demolished, City Council hasn’t made a decision on what will happen in its place. I, for one, don’t believe a small neighborhood pool and a larger community center pool are mutually exclusive and I’m examining all of our options in this regard.”

Swim Gallery


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 — The Camas Boys Swim team came back from a disappointing Prelims on Friday to win the 4A Swimming Championship Saturday — with 232 points — for the second consecutive year.

It was an incredible narrative as the Papermakers left Prelims Friday feeling shaky, lacking confidence, fatigued, and even experienced a little team infighting. Friday’s results left Coach Mike Bemis shaking his head, not convinced their team could bring the trophy back to Camas High School.

”Doing so poorly in the 200 Medley Relay shook the boys up,” said Bemis.  “And, I thought we gave it (the State title) away.”

So, he re-strategized, and the boys decided to take the pressure off themselves. It made all the difference.

Bemis sat down with the boys and explained what each one had to do in each event — down to the tenth of a second. They had a plan.

The boys turned up the intensity in their first Finals event — the 200 Medley Relay — scoring 1:37.91. They didn’t make the podium but it brought up their confidence. State Champion, Mark Kim, placed second in the 200 Free (1:41.48). Eric Wu would place second in the 200 IM (1:52.14). Chris Xia placed fifth in the 50 Free (21.89).

Prior to the 100 Fly, Bemis said with a slight grin, “we’re just one point behind Kamiak. It’s going to come down to the last event — the 400 Free Relay.”

In the 100 Fly event, Papermakers Eric Wu and Jaden Kim would place second (49.79) and third (50.20), respectively.


Jaden Kim.

That’s when Wu issued this comment: “Ernie, everything is going how we wanted it to be. As of right now, it’s all happening according to the plan.”

That plan, he said, meant each Papermaker had to meet or beat specific times in each event. Wu said everyone had to do their best. The plan also banked on Kamiak choking in a few events. They did.

Xia would place sixth (47.90) in the 100 Free — still according to the plan. Mark Kim placed third in the 500 Free (4:39.60), which thrust them even further ahead. Austin Fogel also racked up points for Camas in the 500 Free.

The 200 Free Relay team (Eric Wu, Jaden Kim, Chris Xia, Mark Kim) won with 1:26.53 — and that put the team at ease. And Finn McClone notched his best time in the 100 Back.

With two events left, the boys had 36-point lead. During the breastroke event (which Camas did not compete in) Wu, Xia, and Dave Peddie analyzed all the numbers and felt confident of an overall all team victory.

”We’d have to really screw up in the 400 Free Relay,” said Xia.

They didn’t.

McClone, Xia, Jaden Kim and Mark Kim won the 400 Free Relay (3:08.74) cementing their State title and making history again for Camas High School. It was Mark Kim’s last race as a Papermaker — and he made it count.


Mark Kim awaits the final results of his last swimming event for Camas — in the 400 Free Relay.

The feeling was euphoric. Teammates Dave Peddie and Luke Bales started crying as they hugged their teammates.

Just 24 hours prior Wu said “it’ll take a miracle to win State.” That miracle happened. The new strategy worked. Everyone did their part.

“After yesterday, we were seeded OK, but everyone was stressed out,” said Kim. “We asked Mike if he thought we could win. We came here with a mindset of winning. My individuals weren’t as good as I wanted them to be, but everyone else dropped a lot of time. Finn did great! I think all the little things added up, and wining the relays was spectacular! We really pulled it out this year. We went out with a bang! As a team we did awesome!”

Wu said they decided today to execute and he expressed gratitude to Bemis.

”On the Medley Relay, tonight we got lucky,” said Bemis. “Kamiak froze up a little bit and didn’t get the top place they had coming in so they lost six points. And then in the next event they lost four points. And, so they didn’t swim as well and kept losing points, and we swam better and made up those points. Once we got on a roll, it was contagious — it was all in.”

The coveted State trophy, which has been at Camas High for the last year, returns back on Monday. Papermaker Pride.


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

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


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.


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 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

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.


Mark Kim. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

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).


Eric Wu in the 100 Fly. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

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.


From left: Aaron Le, Jake Duerfeldt, Coach Mike Bemis, Zach Macia, and Luke Bales.

“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



The boys enjoy holding the District trophy.



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

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.

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Swim Photo Gallery


VANCOUVER, WA — The Papermaker Boys Swim Team came out ahead at Thursday’s Propstra Aquatic Center meet against Hudson’s Bay, Columbia River, and Washougal.

Pushing along in their quest to defend their State title, the boys made do at the swim meet without some key swimmers, who were traveling to a private swim club meet up north.

Their absence created a little shifting during key relay events giving underclassmen Dave Peddie, Luke Bales, and Ben Taylor the opportunity to swim a relay with State champion, Mark Kim.

“We just finished our 200 Free Relay,” said Peddie. “The Camas A team got first place, and our times are not bad for this point in the season, but we can definitely build on that, and keep improving.”

Bales, a sophomore, agreed.

“We were led by Mark Kim so that’s a really good thing,” said Bales. “And personally, I hit a PR in the event.”

Propstra Swim Meet Stats

Here’s how things turned out, by event.

200 Free Medley Relay:

  • 1st Place: Camas High School (1:51.31) – Junha Lee, Jakob Duerfeldt, Luke Bales, Austin Fogel.
  • 2nd Place: Columbia River High School (1:51.84) – Daniel Ishchuk, Ben Phelps, Elijah Parish, Simon Parish.
  • 3rd Place: Camas High School (1:57.62) – Sullivan Carrick, Jacob Fenley, James Hatch

200 Free

  • 1st Place:  Junha Lee (2:01.74), of Camas.
  • 2nd Place: Ben Taylor (2:08.4), of Camas.
  • 3rd Place: Colin Helt (2:27.3), of Columbia River.

Luke Bales starts his relay event.

200 Individual Medley (IM)

  • 1st Place: Austin Fogel (2:08.92), of Camas.
  • 2nd Place: Dave Peddie (2:17.15), of Camas.
  • 3rd Place: Simon Parish (2:17.45), of Columbia River.

50 Free

  • 1st Place: Mark Kim (23.46 seconds), of Camas.
  • 2nd Place: Isaiah Ross (23.85 seconds), of Washougal.
  • 3rd Place: Ben Phelps (24.30 seconds), of Columbia River.

100 Butterfly

  • 1st Place: Jaden Kim (56.33 seconds), of Camas.
  • 2nd Place: Austin Fogel (58.02 seconds), of Camas.
  • 3rd Place: Daniel Brown (58.82 seconds), of Camas.

100 Free

  • 1st Place: Isaiah Ross (51.23 seconds), of Washougal.
  • 2nd Place: Daniel Ishchuk (55.86 seconds), of Columbia River.
  • 3rd Place: Jack Harris (57.29 seconds), of Camas.

500 Free

  • 1st Place: Jaden Kim (5:23.53), of Camas.
  • 2nd Place: Simon Parish (5:23.53), of Columbia River.
  • 3rd Place: Victor Wu (6:14.81), of Camas.

200 Free Relay

  • 1st Place: Camas High School (1:36.52) – Mark Kim, Luke Bales, Dave Peddie, Ben Taylor.
  • 2nd Place: Columbia River High School (1:39.39) – Elijah Parish, Daniel Ishchuk, Ben Phelps, Simon Parish.
  • 3rd Place: Camas High School (1:44.90) – Timchenko Timofey, Victor Wu, Jakob Duerfeldt, Jack Harris.

100 Backstroke

  • 1st Place: Mark Kim (58.84), of Camas.
  • 2nd Place: Daniel Ishchuk (1:01.35), of Columbia River.
  • 3rd Place: Daniel Brown (1:02.10), of Washougal.

100 Breaststroke

  • 1st Place: Danilo Kamenko (1:12.05), of Camas.
  • 2nd Place: Jakob Duerfeldt (1:12.95), of Camas.
  • 3rd Place: Elijah Parish (1:14.20), of Columbia River.

400 Free Relay

  • 1st Place: Camas High School (3:36.25) – Jaden Kim, Austin Fogel, Mark Kim.
  • 2nd Place: Camas High School (3:54.85) – Dave Peddie, Ben Taylor, Luke Bales, Timchenko Timofey.
  • 3rd Place: Camas High School (4:03.56) – Josef Kiesenhofer, Jack Harris, Danilo Kamenko, Victor Wu.

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Swim Meet Gallery

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