Tag Archive for: Camas Boys Swimming

Kelso, WA — The Union High School Boys swim team clinched the District Championship Saturday with 256 points, narrowly defeating Camas (251 points). The two teams have long been competitive rivals.

In addition to winning Districts, Union swimmers also set multiple meet and pool records in the following events:

  • 400 Free Relay: Sammy Empey, Steve Empey, Alex Wahlman, and Owen Robertson clocked in at 3:10.68, which shaved FIVE seconds off the previous record. 
  • 200 Medley Relay: Sammy Empey, Steve Empey, Alex Wahlman, and Owen Robertson came in at 1:35.86.
  • 200 Free: Sammy Empey set a new record at 1:41.03.
  • 100 Fly: Sammy Empey set a record at 49.15.

This YouTube video report has two interviews: one with Union swimmers, and one with Camas team members Nathan Kim, Isaac Tim, Andrew Wessell, and Henry Webster.

Union High School boys swim team.

Kelso, WA — The Camas Papermaker Boys Swim team defeated the Union Titans 100-65 Tuesday night.

It’s a sport of numbers, seconds, tenths of seconds and even though Union won five events, including two relays, they didn’t have the sheer numbers to defeat Camas.

Union dominated the first event, the 200 Medley Relay (1:38.15) with powerhouse swimmers Owen Robertson, Steven Empey, Alex Wahlman, and Sammy Empey, a Jr. National athlete.

Sammy Empey won the second event, the 200 Free in a four-man heat with Papermaker Nathan Kim placing second. 

Papermaker James Crawford won the 200 IM (2:03.30).

Mountain View’s Owen Wong won the 50 Free (:22.15).

Sammy Empey earned another victory in a brilliantly executed 100 Fly (50.26) with Nathan Kim placing second.

Titan Alex Wahlman placed first in the 100 Free (50.28).

James Crawford also won the 500 Free (5:05.62). 

Union High School swimmers (from left): Alex Wahlman, Steven Empey, Owen Robertson, and Sammy Empey.

Camas swimmers Nathan Kim, Henry Webster, Sahn Kim, and Ryan Tanner won the 200 Free Relay (1:31.08) missing the State cut by .5 seconds.

“Don’t worry, we will get the State cut at Districts,” said Webster.

Papermaker Aarmav Krishna won the 100 Back event (1:00.78).

Papermaker Sahn Kim handily won the 100 Breast event (1:01.78).

And, Union’s powerhouse relay team (Wahlman, Robertson, Empey and Empey) won the 400 Free Relay (3:17.39) earning a State cut. The Camas relay placed second, also earning a State cut.

The boys compete next at Mark Morris this Saturday.

Camas swimmer Henry Webster.

Swimmers from local Camas and Vancouver clubs broke team records while taking home several state titles at last weekend’s four-day OSI Area Long Course Championships at Mt. Hood Community College.

The athletes have been preparing for months to meet specific times, and many achieved or exceeded those goals.

“We experienced very positive team work with accountability and skill set enforcement,” said Darlene Lumbard, head coach of Columbia River Swim Team (CRST).

Many of her athletes compete for local high schools, including Camas, Heritage, Union, and Mountain View, during the school season. We also covered achievements from the Lacamas Headhunters swim team.

Long Course Championship Results

  • 100 Fly: Jaden Kim, Lacamas Headhunters (57.59) State Champion.
  • 800 Free: Dave Peddie, CRST (8:43.90) State Champion.
  • 13/14 200 IM: Nathan Kim, Lacamas Headhunters (2:17.09) State Champion.
  • 13/14 200 Back: Nathan Kim, Lacamas Headhunters (2:15.61) State Champion.
  • 13/14 200 IM: Sammy Empey, CRST (2:19.00) State Champion.
  • 13/14 50 Free: Sammy Empey, CRST (24.88) State Champion and Futures Cut. This is exceptional!
  • 800 Free Relay: Ilia Zablotovskii, Christian Madden, Alex Curran, Dave Peddie, CRST (8:04.02) State Champions.
  • 400 Free: Dave Peddie, CRST (4:11.31) State Champion.
  • 13/14 100 Fly: Sammy Empey, CRST (58.86) State Champion.
  • 12 100 Fly: Steven Empey, CRST (27.40) State Champion.
  • 13/14 200 Medley Relay: Sammy Empey, Alex Wendler, Alex Wahlman, Steven, Wu, CRST (1:57.07) State Champions.
  • 200 Fly: Christian Madden, CRST (2:14.02) State Champion.
  • 13/14 100 Free: Sammy Empey, CRST (53.96) State Champion.
  • 100 Free: IIia Zablotovskii, CRST (53.38) State Champion.
  • 1500 Free: Dave Peddie, CRST (16:34.70) State Champion.
  • 13/14 100 Back: Sammy Empey, CRST (1:01.12) State Champion.
  • 13/14 200 Free: Sammy Empey, CRST (2:03.92) State Champion.
  • 200 Free: Christian Madden, CRST (1:59.67) State Champion.

Video Coverage

To see video coverage of Dave Peddie, click here: https://youtu.be/HEKpR0YS9Gc

To see video coverage of Jaden Kim, click here: https://youtu.be/KzSMq_heOH8

To see video coverage of Sammy Empey, click here: https://youtu.be/DedfR_n8E-k

To see video coverage of Christian Madden, click here: https://youtu.be/x_zYMSmpDB4

For CRST, their athletes also broke several records during the four-day Long Course Championship meet:

  • Alex Wendler set a record in the 100 Breaststroke.
  • Sammy Empey set at record in the 50 Free and 200 IM.
  • Dave Peddie set a record in the 800 Free.
  • The 13/14 Girls set a record in the 800 Free Relay: Maddie Wick, Jean Lim, Jolie Fong, Annette Chang.
  • Dave Peddie also broke a 15-year-old record in the 400 Free.
  • Sammy Empey set a record in the 100 Fly.
  • Annette Chang, Campbell Deringer, Jolie Fong, and Maddie Wick also set a record in the 13/14 Girls 200 Medley Relay.
  • Sammy Empey, Alex Wendler, Alex Wahlman, and Steve Wu set a record in the 13/14 200 Medley Relay.
  • Sammy Empey broke the 100 Free record.
  • The girls also broke the 13/14 200 Free and 400 Free Relay record.
  • The boys also broke the 13/14 200 Free Relay record.
Babe Ruth
From left, Lacamas Headhunters who competed on Sunday: Jaden Kim, Jack Harris, Nathan Kim, Owen Robertson, and their coach.

Vancouver, WA — The 2x State Champion Camas High School Boys swim team hosted Friday’s meet at the Cascade Athletic Club’s “bubble” and narrowly edged out Evergreen Schools — Evergreen, Union, Mountain View, and Heritage — by just a few points.

Camas was down a few athletes (Zach Macia, Chris Xia, and Jack Harris), but the Evergreen swim competition is simply getting better.

”Since we practice with them,” said Camas Assistant Coach, Leslie Levesque, “we can see how much they’re improving. They swim well.”

Mountain View came out strong winning the 200 Medley Relay (Tim Huang, Justin Xue, Christian Madden, and Fred Grimshaw) with a time of 1:43.30. Union placed second; and Camas, third.

Mountain View’s Madden also won the 200 Free (1:53.39). Union’s Jack Gallo placed second; and Papermaker Austin Fogel placed third. Mountain View also won the 200 IM with Xue wining the contest, with Washougal’s Isaiah Ross placing second, and Union’s Nick Wahlman placing third.

Camas won their first event of the night as Jaden Kim won (23.06) with Papermaker Ben Taylor (23.11) placing a close second, and Union’s Val Tikhomirov placing third. Kim handily won the 100 Fly (53.73) with Washougal’s Daniel Brown placing second, and Union’s Ethan Chuang placing third.


Camas swimmer, Jaden Kim, center.

Evergreen’s star swimmer, Ilya Zablotoviskii, won the 100 Free, barely edging out Taylor (49.89) and Union’s Grimshaw (53.03).

Washougal’s Ross handily won the 500 Free (4:56.74), followed by Madden (5:03.06). Gallow placed third (5:06.86).

Mountain View also won the 200 Free Relay (1:33.88) narrowly edging out Camas (1:34.58) and Union (1:38.88).

Ilya would also win the 100 Back (58.65) followed by Union’s Tony Kajino (1:00.16) and Mountain View’s Timothy Huang (1:02.31).

In the 100 Breastroke, Union’s Tikhomirov placed first (1:04.02) followed by Wahlman (1:06.36) and Xue (1:09.36).

Camas made up their point deficit in the night’s final event — the 400 Free Relay — by handily winning (3:37.09). Union placed second (3:56.64) and the Camas B Relay placed third (4:06.48).

Despite the win, it wasn’t the best Papermaker performance in the pool.

“The swimmers are doing their best to adjust to the new pool, but since we can’t all practice at the same time it’s created some challenges with team cohesion,” said Levesque. “Our foundation was taken away, and we’re still adjusting. The boys work really hard to accomplish what they have always done in the past.”

They are preparing for two more meets next week: one at the YMCA in Vancouver, and one at Kelso.



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.”

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mark Kim — in the 500 Free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chris Xia.



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



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


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.

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