Kelso, WA — Even though rival Hanford won Saturday’s meet, Camas still won the District 4 Title, and is sending seven athletes to State. Hanford swims competitively with District 4 multiple times a season, but they actually represent District 8, and carry that title, as well. Yes, it’s confusing.

“The girls swam really well today, and we had a lot of really close races,” said Camas Head Coach, Mike Bemis. “But, we simply don’t have the numbers that Hanford has. We’re pretty happy that we have seven girls going to State next week. The girls have a lot to be proud of. We still won the District 4 title.”

The Papermakers got off to a great start in the 200 Medley Relay, narrowly winning with 1:53.17. Hanford placed second with 1:53.57. Union placed third. The Camas team included Mia Kamenko, Kristina Perian, Bailey Segall, and Paeton Lesser.

Walla Walla, Hanford, and Richland took the top three wins in the 200 Free. Walla Walla also came out top in the 200 IM, with Lesser placing second, and Mary Workman, of Richland, placing third.

The 50 Free event was ultra tight: Hanford’s Kodi Younkin (25.11); Heritage’s Meliah Franklin (25.17); and Camas’ Bailey Segall (25.22).

“I scored a personal best in the 50 Free,” said Segall. “I’m so happy right now.”

In the 100 Fly event, Union’s Abby Crowson won (59.96), and Segall would place second (1:01.00), earning a spot to compete at State next week. Hanford’s Carrie Moore placed third.

Papermaker Lesser won the 100 Free (54.71) with Heritage’s Meliah Franklin placing second, and Hanford’s Younkin rounding out the top three.

The 500 Free event was won by Hanford’s Regan Geldmacher (5:06.43). Walla Walla’s Laurel Skorina and Richland’s Bryn McGinnis rounded out the top three.

In the ultra competitive 200 Free Relay, Hanford edged out Camas by one second, setting a meet record (1:41.05). Union’s relay team placed third. Walla Walla’s Kyra Hartley earned the top spot in the 100 Back, with Battle Ground’s Jacqueline Ramsey, and Union’s Abby Crowson placing second and third, respectively.


100 Backstroke Event.

Union’s Avery Gunderson handily won the 100 Breastroke event (1:10.08) with Papermaker Kristian Perian placing second (1:12.04) and Hanford’s Haha Fathali placing third (1:15.27).

Hanford came out on top again in the 400 Free Relay (3:47.88) with Walla Walla and Camas finishing second and third, respectively.

Camas looks forward to sending seven athletes to State: five swimmers, and two divers. Bailey Segall, Paeton Lesser, Hope Yim, Kristina Perian, Mia Kamenko will swim, and sisters Shae and Lynn McGee will dive.

“We’re really happy with the results,” said Segall. “We have a good team, and we’re looking forward to State.”

Photo Gallery


Kelso, WA — The Camas Girls Swim Team won the Kelso Invitational Saturday, and set a new meet record along the way.

”We broke the meet record in the 200 Free Relay,” said Camas swimmer, Bailey Segall. “We were only .2 off of the state time and are planning on getting it shortly. We were all really trying to pump each other up and we all swam very well.”

Their time was 1:43.91, and broke the record set five years ago. The 200 Free Relay team included Paeton Lesser, Bailey Segall, Hope Yim, and Kristina Perian.

“We really wanted to get the state time because we were about two seconds away and we gave it our best shot,” said Hope Yim. “We will continue to work hard and hopefully break the pool record!”


Here are the results from several events:

200 Free
-1st Bailey Segall
-4th Hope Yim

200 IM
-2nd Paeton Lesser
3rd Lily Seitz (Wash)

50 Free
-2nd Kristina Perian
-5th Mia Kamenko

100 Fly
-4th Lily Seitz (Wash)

100 Free
-2nd Paeton Lesser
-4th Bailey Segall
-5th Hope Yim

500 Free
-1st Grace Benjamin
– 5th Audrey Hinchliff

100 Back
-2nd Mia Kamenko
-4th Madi O’Neal

Camas also placed first in the 400 Free Relay swim event with Grace Benjamin, Mia Kamenko, Kate Gerstler, and Jessica Bretz.

“This year we are just very lucky to have a great group of girls,” said Lesser. “Everyone is very encouraging, and I feel very fortunate to be on a relay with them.”

The girls will keep going after the state cut in the 200 Free Relay.

“Bailey pumped everyone up before the race,” said Perian. “I believe that we all performed the best we could for our team.”

“We are very fortunate to have such an amazing group of girls extending well past the relay,” said Segall. “We had decided we wanted to make the cut, both for us and for our team. More importantly we wanted to swim the best that we could. We were all hyping each other up both in the warm up pool and behind the blocks. The majority of our team was there encouraging us and cheering us on. We all swam fantastic and every single girl on the relay gave it her all. I am so excited to be apart of such a fantastic and enthusiastic team and relay. I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish.”

Photos by Kristie Greenwood.


The Camas High School Girls swim team.

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


The Camas Girls Swim and Dive Team had a successful weekend in the pool — at two locations. The swimmers competed at the Southwest Washington Invitational at Mark Morris Pool (in Longview, WA), and the team’s divers attended an 11-dive meet in Bainbridge, WA.

Diver Jax Purwins won the diving contest with a final score of 406 points.  Lynne McGee earned 292 points, and Shaye McGee earned 268 points. Thirty-eight divers from the Seattle area participated in the meet. The diver compete again this Friday in Moses Lake. This is the first time in more than 15 years that Camas has featured diving events as part of their program.

“It’s something new this year,” said team coach, Mike Bemis. “It’s logistically challenging because SW Washington had abandoned diving many years ago.

The swim team finished second at the SW Invitational. Camas won the 200 Free and 400 Free relays. Paeton Lesser won the 200 Free, and was second in the 50 Free. Bailey Segall placed third in the 200 Individual Medley (IM) and 100 Fly. The next meet for the girls is Sub Districts, which is this Wednesday at Mark Morris Pool, in Longview, WA.

The girls have been trying to get as many State time cuts as possible to exceed last year.

Here’s a Spotlight Video on the team:

To learn more, visit


Camas — The Camas Girls Swim team won Wednesday’s meet against Prairie and Battle Ground at one of their few home meets this season.

Overall team results:

  • Camas 171, La Center 38
  • Camas 183, Hockinson 42
  • Camas 174, Battle Ground 72
  • Washougal 125, Prairie 90
  • Washougal 121, La Center 40
  • Washougal 129, Hockinson 52

Here are the results, by event:

  • 200 Medley Relay: Lady Papermaker Paeton Lesser won (2:16.06).
  • 200 Free: Bryanna Ungs won the event (2:23.66); Washougal’s Charlota Baker placed second (2:25.35).
  • 200 Individual Medley (IM): Paeton Lesser won the event (2:39.5); Mia Kamenko placed second (2:47.89).
  • 50 Free: Haley Grotte won the event (28.34); and Ana Janiszewski placed second.
  • 100 Fly: Lady Papermaker Bailey Segall won the event (1:11.05); and Jackie Ramsey placed second (1:15.24).
  • 100 Free: La Center’s Hailey Grotte won the event (1:02.09); and Ana Janiszewski placed second (1:07.94).
  • 400 Free: Charlotte Baker won the event (5:16.04); and Brooke Coen placed second (5:31.28).
  • 200 Free Relay: The Washougal girls won this event (2:10.24). Relay members were Ana Janiszewski, Kaylan Schmid, Payton Williams, and Daisey Hall. The Camas relay team placed second (2:10.48).
  • 100 Back: Battle Ground’s Jackie Ramsey won the event (1:12.78); and Bailey Segall placed second (1:34.41).
  • 100 Breastroke: Bryanna Ungs won the event (1:22.80); and Andrey Hinchcloff placed second (1:34.94).
  • 400 Free Relay: Camas won this event (4:24.31). The team comprised Jessica Bretz, Mady Scherwinski, Paeton Lesser, and Bailey Segall.

The girls are half way through the season, and will compete again this Saturday for the Kelso Invitational, which is held at the Kelso High School Pool. The invitational begins at 10 am.

To learn more, visit

Swim Team Photo Gallery

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LONGVIEW, WA — The Camas High School Girls Swim Team won the Pentathlon swim event Saturday at Mark Morris Pool, beating Union and Washougal, scoring 368 points overall.

The top 15 finishers were Lady Papermakers Paeton Lesser, who placed third; Mady Scherwinski, and Mia Kamenko, who tied for ninth place. Hope Him placed 15th, and five swimmers qualified for Districts.

“Our goal this year is to have more girls qualify for Districts,” said Scherwinski. “And we’d love to have more compete at State. This year we have a very young team, with a lot of Freshmen, and fewer Seniors.”

Last Thursday, the girls narrowly lost their first Dual meet to Union. That event was held at Vancouver’s Cascade Athletic Club.

Girls Dual Meet Results

In the Duals, Lesser won the 50 free event (25.7), as well as the 100 Free event (55.8)

Bailey Segall won the 500 Free event (5:36).

The Camas 200 Free Relay team won that event, as well, clocking in at 1:59.49. The relay team consisted of Segall, Jessica Bretz, Scherwinski, and Lesser.

Camas also won the 400 Free Relay event (3:53.96), which also comprised Segall, Bretz, Scherwinski, and Lesser.

“We have a lot of opportunity for growth this year,” said Coach, Mike Bemis, who also coaches the Camas Boys team, as well as swimmers at Columbia River Swim Team (CRST). “Since we have a lot of young players, we’re figuring out the best mix of relay teams right now.”

To learn more visit:

Photo Gallery

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The Papermakers Girls Swimming team won their 4A District victory at Pasco over the weekend. The Lady Papermakers earned a total of 254 points. In the photo, team captains Jessica Rourke and Brooke Kelly are holding the trophy.

Several girls advance to State competition in Federal Way.

The team consists of the following swimmers: Savannah Kennedy, Emily Hows, Lydia Keller, Brooke Kelly, Jessica Bretz, Corinne Bintz, Jessica Rouske, Siobhan Choong, Kalle Rouske, Nicole Lobkov, Hannah Clayton, and Madalyn Scherwinski.


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