Gresham, OR – Nearly 600 athletes from all over western part of the United States returned to Mt. Hood Community College this past weekend to compete at the Speedo Sectionals swim meet.
It’s the first time in three years that Mt. Hood CC hosted the event due to COVID-19 shutdowns and massive facility renovations. And, the meet didn’t disappoint: FOUR athletes made Olympic Trials times, with many other making Nationals and Future cuts.
“We were closed for more than two years,” said Andrew Jackman, Aquatics Manager for the Mt. Hood CC Long Course pool. “And, we just re-opened in May.”
Jackman said the pool renovations were extensive, which included new pumps.
“We were ready for Sectionals,” he added. “The total count according to my records was 59 total teams, representing 594 student-athletes, from seven states. The meet went great! We were so excited here at MHCC to be able to host a large national-level swim meet after the long closure from March 2020-May 2022. It was very successful and everyone seemed very pleased with the results. We are also looking forward to hosting OSI Championships this coming week from 7/21-7/24 as well with over 700 swimmers expected to be in attendance.”
Four swimmers made Olympic Trials qualifying times:
Michael Hochwalt, SWAT (Spokane), 400 IM (4:23.8)
Diego Nosack, Tualatin Hills Swim Club (Beaverton), 400 IM (4:22.00)
Katherine Adams, Tualatin Hills Swim Club (2:29.41)
Helen Noble, Phoenix Swim Club, 100 Back (1:01.24)
“I’ve been swimming for 10 years,” said Hochwalt. “I’ve been working three years to get that cut. Driving to practice every day, working hard. Putting all that effort in, and it feels nice that it pays off. I’m happy but not satisfied with it.”
He explained that he needs to qualify for the Olympic trials beginning in November (when the 2024 qualifying period begins), so this time doesn’t guarantee a spot.
“I have to get the cut again, but considering I got it now, and I have two more years to get it again, and I’m dropping pretty rapidly right now I should continue to get even more than that cut,” he said.
Washougal, WA — About 200 Camas High School Papermakers gathered at the Port of Camas Washougal at 6:30 am Thursday to hold an annual tradition — the Senior Sunrise.
The Class of 2021 is starting their school year with remote learning, and will likely stay in this state for at least a couple months, so decided they wanted to gather and feel a sense of normalcy.
“This is just one of the senior year traditions where everybody gathers early in the morning to watch the sunrise,” said Dave Peddie, a Camas High School senior, and State Champion swimmer. “Other schools in the area did it and we wanted to do it too to keep the tradition alive. We got the word out and everyone is here.”
Reactions to the way the school year is starting is mixed. Some say it’s working well, for them, while others would prefer to have school in the classroom.
“It’s going better than we thought,” said Peddie. “The teachers are putting in a lot of work, and they are making sure we’re learning the material we’re supposed to learn. It’s a smooth transition so far.”
Prior to departure, the Camas Swim team decided to provide water entertainment by stripping down to their competition swim suits and plunging into the cold Columbia River.
“We decided to hop in,” said Peddie. “It was Jack’s (Harris) idea. He texted us late last night and he’s like bring your speedos and we’ll do a little swim. It was fun!”
Harris admitted it was his idea.
“Once I heard about the planning of this Senior Sunrise thing, I thought we’d do the best we can to make memories this year considering everything that’s going on so I thought it would be really funny if me and the guys decided to hop in front of everyone,” said Harris, a CHS Senior and member of the school’s swim team. “I thought it would be something fun to talk about as a good memory. The water wasn’t that bad, but it was refreshing.”
Getting in was the hardest part, said CHS senior, Alex Duma. “Nobody actually wanted to get in, but once we got in it was good.”
Peddie isn’t sure what other events are planned, but he said it was good to gather and connect with friends.
About half the students wore face masks, and they mostly stayed in smaller groups, except for one larger group by the river’s edge. The event lasted about 45 minutes, after which many headed out to eat breakfast.
https://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/03192846/F4BF0692-EC7D-4519-85B4-E4E772226110.jpeg7261280Ernest Geigenmillerhttps://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/07074147/lacamas_white_2-300x300.pngErnest Geigenmiller2020-09-03 19:44:392020-09-05 23:19:42Camas High School Senior Sunrise Event Kicks Off 2020-21 School Year
It was standing room only at Thursday’s annual Camas State of the Community at Lacamas Lake Lodge, which featured addresses from Port of Camas Washougal Director Dave Ripp, City of Camas Mayor Shannon Turk, and Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell.
Camas School District School Board President, Doug Quinn, served as Master of Ceremonies while the Camas School Orchestra (Rose Hinchliff, Ireland McGree, and Luke Martinez) performed the prelude music and Autumn Sterle sang the National Anthem.
State of the Port of Camas Washougal
At the onset of his address, Ripp said the Port receives income from three sources: 1) Grove Field airport ($153,837 net); 2) The CW Marina ($417,859 net); and 3) Property/commerce center leases ($1,660,988 net).
Ripp then discussed the Port’s work on the Washougal waterfront development.
“We’ve been working on this since 2010,” said Ripp. “The site was originally a lumber mill, which closed down. We wanted to do something that enhances what’s there and have the public enjoy it.”
He explained obtaining the site was possible through a grant, which has two phases: 1) Cleanup; and 2) Planning. In 2014, the Port did the full cleanup, and in 2015, they built the park and trail, and purchased the remaining portion of the Killian site. Once the trail was finished, they looked at master planning, hired an outside firm, and then presented the public with three options, all of which include public access to the waterfront.
“In 2021 we want to put a shovel in the ground to get it moving,” said Ripp. “On June 7, the natural play area was opened to the public on June 7. This is our crown jewel of waterfront trail park.”
Ripp then explained the growth and success of the Steigerwald Commerce Center, which received $3 million in grants allowing the Port to double the building’s size. Six businesses are presently there, and the center is operating at 100 percent occupancy. They are now looking at Building 19, a 27,000 square foot facility purchased this year.
The new roundabouts are very helpful with business trade at the Commerce Center, said Ripp, though he acknowledges neighbor frustration.
State of the City of Camas
In her first State of the Community address, Mayor Shannon Turk spoke about four topics:
“The infrastructure improvements that we will be working on this year enhance safety and traffic flow on our roads and ensure the availability of clean water.”
Significant improvements will be made on Brady Road from 16th Avenue to Pacific Rim Boulevard, which include the following:
Widening the roadway
Addition of bike lanes
Street lighting and landscaping
Center turn lane/median
Utility work begins this fall thru winter
Final work/paving — late summer 2020
A two-million-gallon reservoir will be built at NW 18th and Tidland to help the city maintain its commitment to providing clean, quality water to all areas of the city.
Turk also provided an update on the Lake/Everett Road roundabout, scheduled for construction from 2020 to 2021, and showed a fly-over traffic simulation, as seen here: https://youtu.be/iFlQ51XrSyM
The North shore subarea plan (the area north of Lacamas Lake) furthers the vision of our city leaders in the 1980s, she said, and is “setting up our city for the next three to four decades.” The area contains 800 acres of land, of which 160 acres is owned by the city for legacy land open spaces and land preservation (along the north shore).
The North Shore plan creates new developments including homes, shops, and master planned commercial development.
“It shows where we need to invest,” said Turk. “Visit www.camasnorthshore.com, where you can learn more or provide input by taking a survey.”
During the next portion of her talk, recreation opportunities, Turk discussed the Community Aquatics Center and Sports Field bond measure. The 78,000-square-foot multi-use facility includes a recreational pool, lap/competitive pool, community spaces, multipurpose gym, locker rooms, child watch area, and many other amenities. Turk worked with Camas City Council to put this project to vote, known as Proposition 2, on the November ballot. During her presentation, she explained the need for the new facilities, cited decades-long support for the project, and encouraged all Camas residents to continue to provide input on the design, location, and features of the project, which will continue to be refined after November 5.
“This provides an opportunity for seniors to be active and socialize, as part of an aging-in-place strategy,” said Turk. “It gives our children and teens an opportunity to play sports for fun through intramural programs, increasing their activity and connecting them with friends, instead of what they hold in their hand. And it allows us to ensure that all of our children in our city know how to swim and view our community center as a destination for fun diving, instead of swinging off rope swings or jumping off rocks. This is a 78,000-square-foot facility that is designed to highlight the natural surroundings. This is our concept and it is beautiful. That does not mean that things will not be tweaked or changed, but right now this looks awesome.”
“We did put a bond on the ballot and we are asking you to pay for this,” said Turk. “There’s $72 million for the center, $37.2 million of that amount goes to building the facility itself. The rest goes to offsite and onsite improvements including parking at Heritage Park, a roundabout that will help you get in and out of Heritage Park and proposed Community Center easily. It includes a light at Lake Road and Sierra … These costs are in here.”
Turk said the ballot measure also includes $6 million in sports field renovations (new turf, fields, and lighting).
Contractors will be selected for the project through a bidding process. The city expects to receive competitive bids, which will likely come in significantly lower than the estimated $78 million price tag. Private donations could further lower the overall cost. If the final price tag of the project is indeed less, the city will reduce the projected tax rate of $1.04 per $1,000 in assessed property value, and collect fewer taxes from residents. (Any new taxes would not start until 2021.)
Moving on to the final topic her presentation, Turk explained the city’s commitment to improving city communications. She emphasized the reintroduction of council ward meetings, as well as the inclusion of more open house events, surveys, social media posts, and project mailers.
Turk also introduced Camas 101, which is an eight-class program, starting in January 2020, that includes the following:
Learn more about your city
History of Camas
Role of Mayor and City Council
How projects are determined and funded
What the city actually does
Creating a connected and engaged community — wants people to learn about local non-profits.
“We instituted ward meetings in the spring and will do more in the Fall,” said Turk.
State of Camas School District
“Our focus this year is writing our collective story,” said Snell. “You give your best into that school year with all your hopes and dreams. You take each year’s lessons and apply them to the next year. We get to shape what those stories look like. We see and serve each student. Each means each of you will get something out of this.”
He’s also pleased that Helen Baller Special Education teacher, Amy Campbell, was named as Teacher of the Year.
“We’re excited she gets a platform to advocate for special education and to represent Camas School District,” said Snell. “I can’t think of a better person to do that.”
Snell provided a review of the challenges that McCleary legislation created, the stress it placed on levies and that they will continue to work within these constraints.
“We want to inspire them to be learners,” he said. “Standardized tests are one thing, but we need to do the very best we can with our students. They will be making decisions about our community and world.”
He said the Garver Theatre is coming back online from the 2016 bond.
https://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/07075602/C8E5A7EA-03BD-4BD0-BBE9-93E2C8913A48-scaled.jpeg12262560Ernest Geigenmillerhttps://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/07074147/lacamas_white_2-300x300.pngErnest Geigenmiller2019-09-21 16:23:162019-09-21 16:23:39Local Leaders Speak at 2019 Camas State of the Community Event
https://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/07080337/16D92A5C-53AD-4D1D-A766-0B603A03389E-scaled.jpeg9792560Ernest Geigenmillerhttps://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/07074147/lacamas_white_2-300x300.pngErnest Geigenmiller2019-07-30 00:02:292019-07-30 10:22:53Long Course Championships: Local Swimmers Win Many State Titles
Camas, WA — Camas City administrators, under the direction of Camas Mayor, Shannon Turk, are working long hours making preparations to present new Community Aquatics Center and Sports Fields plans to the public on June 18.
With the demolition of the Crown Park pool, and limited public use of the Lacamas Athletic Club pool, the city feels an urgency to go forward with plans that will be open for public discussion at an Open House on June 18 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Lacamas Lake Lodge.
“Regarding the Community Aquatics Center, the highest priority is with a leisure and competitive pool,” said Camas City Administrator, Pete Capell in his report this week to City Council. “We are dealing with a tight timeline. A second phase would have a two-court gymnasium and community rooms. We had a preliminary application with public works and community development. They’re been adjusting the concept better so that they can eliminate major concerns or fatal flaws. From here, there will be a follow up meeting with the design team on June 14. There will also be a process to create renderings for the project. There will be an elevated view from Lake Road. Renderings are water colors and will create one with a complete build out.”
City leaders will ask people what programs they think are most important. They will also develop a website so people can see what’s happening.
“On the 18th we will ask people what elements should be in this first phase,” said Capell.
This summer they will develop and refine designs for the aquatics center.
Expect to see an initial mailer in your mailbox any day now. A second mailer in early July will tell Camas citizens what they heard, and where they’re headed. There will be a July 15 council meeting to discuss public feedback, and where things are at. There will also be a booth at Camas Days.
In addition, a 54-acre site within Camas city limits is in negotiations to be purchased for a sports field complex.
“We haven’t acquired it yet,” said Capell. “It’s a prime site we’ve been trying to acquire and it’s going very well.”
City staffers are under tight deadlines as the general obligation bond (which would pay for a large portion of the centers) needs to be ready by August 9.
“What we end up putting on the ballot for the community aquatics center will be the input from the community and the final plan will be decided by council,” said Capell. “We will make it whatever size is most appropriate. Kathy (from Finance) has been working with bond council to determine the steps required to meet ballot requirements. She is helping us from the financial side.”
Turk is pleased with the progress.
“I’m super excited,” she said. “I look forward to seeing the website when it’s ready. The sports complex concept is great in that it broadens our ability to use sports fields. Everyone will get the benefit of these sports fields. Good things are happening.”
https://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/07083232/DEED3083-4DFF-4EC6-B80F-C033EA6BF747-scaled.jpeg32384856Ernest Geigenmillerhttps://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/07074147/lacamas_white_2-300x300.pngErnest Geigenmiller2019-06-06 19:59:092019-06-06 19:59:23Camas to Present Aquatics Center, Sports Fields Plans June 18
At the Camas City Council workshop meeting Monday night, the council unanimously gave direction to city staff to prepare a general obligation bond this November to fund the construction of a new aquatics center.
The news is a major breakthrough in the years-long battle to build a new aquatics center to accommodate the growing demands of all competitive and recreational swimmers, as well as address learn-to-swim and health-related programs.
“We gave staff direction to look at the Buhman property, which is adjacent to Fallen Leaf Lake, across from Heritage Park,” said Camas Mayor, Shannon Turk. “The land, which is just over six acres, is already owned by the City of Camas, and Camas residents have made it very clear they want a new pool. I feel this is a positive step forward.”
Monday’s motion gives staff direction to prepare a general obligation bond that will be presented to voters on the November ballot. The general obligation bond would fund the construction of the new aquatics center.
“Council will look at other sites in Camas, as well, and to look at getting a general obligation bond, which is putting a vote to the people on whether they would be willing to pay for a new pool,” said Turk.
Over the past several months, Camas has been meeting with Washougal to build a community center that has a pool, and Turk said it was time to change the direction.
“Although we’re not saying no to a partnership with Washougal, we feel it’s in our best interest to go forward without them,” said Turk. “The meetings with Washougal weren’t moving this forward.”
City Council member, Melissa Smith, agreed.
“The bond amount hasn’t been determined, and this directs staff to look at property and put in a phased approach,” said Smith. “Timing is in November, and we would have to know the bond amount by August 6.”
Smith added there is potential to buy surrounding parcels, but that’s very preliminary.
“We could accommodate the needs for a 50,000 square foot pool facility,” said Smith. “If we went further and wanted to add more, there would be potential for that.”
Turk said this general obligation bond would be offset by the retiring of the Camas Public Library general obligation bond, which happens in 2019. “This bond would be offsetting,” she said.
Smith said the city staff will also exhaust every possible site, and that preparing this for the November ballot is a super tight timeframe, but doable.
“We have to take advantage of the momentum,” said City Council member, Don Chaney. “Shannon embraces this. We have a chance to do it. If the people say no, they say no. The challenge will be to make the timeline. The community will see that we heard them.”
The city has made numerous failed attempts to build a new aquatics center over the years, but Turk is determined.
“We’re not going to fail anymore,” said Turk.
Chaney said this location is optimum.
“People talk about location,” said Chaney. “I have a different view, it has to be a destination. It’s like Crown Park, and a competitive pool will bring money to downtown. This plan has full council support. We are re-engineering the intersection there, and that will be a big improvement. It was a great meeting today. Everyone should be happy with that meeting.”
Camas has been feeling the effects of losing access to aquatic centers over the past two years. First, the Crown Park Pool was closed, and then Camas High School swim teams were no longer allowed to use the Lacamas Athletic Club’s pool.
“It’s been a real challenge,” said Dave Peddie, a part of the 2018 State Champion Camas High School Boys Swim team. “Losing our home pool hurt us.”
Local residents have also been dismayed at losing the Crown Park Pool, feeling like their children are missing out on great summertime experiences, as well as the loss of valuable swimming lessons.
“This is great news,” said Darlene Lumbard, Head Coach of Columbia River Swim Team. “This is a chance to build a pool for everyone. We can all come together with a good design to reach all the things our community needs. A center encompasses all kinds of things with a competitive pool. Building the right aquatics center will have everything from competitive to therapeutic. It should have all the necessary programming.
“A well-run aquatics center has a private team, a high school team, recreation, learn to swim, scuba, kayak training, water therapy, silver sneakers. I would prefer a deep end because you can do so much more with a deep end. You can do synchro, diving, and water polo. This is a great opportunity to build the right pool. There’s no diving in the community, and there are a lot of gymnasts here. The deep end should go into a five foot, and then maybe with an L to it, where you have your learn-to-swim pool. You can put in your therapeutic work there, as well. This is so exciting!”
The next article will look at aquatics center design options and what they can do for a community.
https://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/07081819/5B6E5020-BB9B-47C6-928E-F3CF959BC8DB-scaled.jpeg24905118Ernest Geigenmillerhttps://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/07074147/lacamas_white_2-300x300.pngErnest Geigenmiller2019-04-02 12:18:052019-04-02 12:18:20Camas City Council Eyes New Aquatic Center Site; To Seek Public Input, Vote
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.”
Hanford High School won the 4A Girls Swimming District Title.
The Camas Girls Swim Team placed second at 4A District Swimming Championships.
Union High School’s Avery Gunderson won the 100 Breaststroke. Papermaker Kristina Perian placed second.
https://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/07091513/8997D4B1-F1CD-4D59-8BAE-93FF35512CF9-e1541291090541-scaled.jpeg16224001Ernest Geigenmillerhttps://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/07074147/lacamas_white_2-300x300.pngErnest Geigenmiller2018-11-03 17:29:552018-11-04 11:36:584A Swimming: Camas Gets Outpaced by Hanford, Still Wins Title
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.
https://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/07105705/1493B537-4EC5-4289-B783-6ADD352AA177-scaled.jpeg27844176Ernest Geigenmillerhttps://cdn.lacamasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/07074147/lacamas_white_2-300x300.pngErnest Geigenmiller2018-01-11 21:00:452018-01-15 21:33:19Camas Swimmers Contend at Kelso High Pool Twice This Week
VANCOUVER, WA — Columbia River Swim Team’s (CRST) Sammy Empey, 12, loves to swim, even if he has to be at the pool before dawn for a 5:30 am practice.
“I tell him it’s OK to skip some of those early morning practices,” says his mom, Camille, “but, he’s always up on his own ready to be driven to the pool. He has a solid work ethic, and absolutely loves to swim. He’s very driven.”
Empey’s passion for the sport of swimming is resulting in some stellar swim times. The ever-focused, bright and happy, Empey, turned heads this year with not one, but four top 10 nationally ranked USA Swimming times for his age group. He’s No. 2 in the nation for the 100 meter Freestyle, or 100m Free as swimmers call it, with a time of 1:00.35.
He also nationally ranks No. 6 in the 50m Fly (29.94), No. 6 in the 100m Fly (1:06.65), and No. 7 in 50m Free (27.88).
“He’s very focused at every practice,” said his coach, Darlene Hill. “He listens, has fun, and encourages others to improve. He’s a delight to have on the team.”
For him, the sport is fun, but he also has some lofty goals.
“What drives me right now is the State records,” said Sammy. “Those are really hard because I’m young, but I still try by going to practice everyday. I love that my teammates help me everyday. I hate to practice when there are no people there, when there’s no one to push me. They keep me on my feet and push me to get to the next level.”
Hill said the team rallies around each athlete to help them get to where they want to be.
“There’s a real support system here,” said Hill. “And, if a swimmer wants to reach a certain goal, we help them achieve it.”
Sammy dives in for the 100 Free event at the Salem Open.
Empey Boys Breaking Records
“When he first started swimming a few years ago,” said Camille. “He saw the individual records on the wall, and told me he would break all of them. He’s starting to do that now.”
His younger brother, Steven, is just as driven, and likes to compete with Sammy.
The Empey brothers broke team records at the Salem Open, in November. Steven broke the 50 Back (33.91) and Sammy broke the 50 Free (24.32), 50 Fly (27.02) and 100 Back (1:01.45) records. Sammy also set four team records at the same meet.
Sammy went 2:10.60 in the 200 IM, 53.18 in the 100 Free, 1:01.89 in the 100 Back, and 27.98 in the 50 Back.
“My coaches help with the swimming techniques,” said Sammy. “But they also help us just be good people.”
Daniil Timchenko begins the 100 Back event. Photo by Blake Schnell.
LONGVIEW, WA — Swimming was definitely interesting today. The Camas High School Boy’s swim team won the Southwest Washington Swim Invitational Saturday at Mark Morris High School, with a final score of 602.5 points. Mountain View and Mark Morris rounded out the top three.The meet was halted near the end of the first event due to a septic overflow that spilled onto the pool deck, causing a public health hazard. This caused over an hour delay, which resulted in the athletes waiting and playing hoops in the gym, many still wearing their swimsuits and caps.
Waiting in the Mark Morris gym, by Blake Schnell.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sheri Breuer, a Skyview coach and meet referee.
The athletes spent the time playing hoops, most were barefoot, playing duck-duck-goose, or playing games.
Once crews cleaned up the mess, the event resumed.
“It was a good meet for us,” said Head Coach, Mike Bemis. “We’re right where we were supposed to be. We did really well. I’m pleased.”
While the Papermakers didn’t dominate as many individual events, as they have in previous years, they came out ahead overall, as a young team working to overcome the strength of losing a commanding senior team last season. The void left by state champions Kasey Calwell and Lucas Ulmer, as well as state swimmer, John Utas, has been felt all season.
Bemis said the Camas team is a young one now, and he’s pleased with the performance of several new freshman swimmers. In particular, Eric Wu, Chris Xia, and Austin Fogel are standout freshmen. The Papermakers have also added Washougal swimmers (who practice with them) to the mix. They include freshman Landon Schmid, Isaiah Ross, and Daniel Brown.
“The Freshman are helping offset the loss of last year’s stars,” said co-captain, junior Luke Albert. “Plus, swimmers like Tom Utas have made state cuts. I think Tom has made state cuts in the 100 Free, 50 Free and the 100 Breast.”
Bemis added: “You don’t replace State champions very easily. We have four years to get there, and such is the cycle of high school sports. We’re young and growing, and learning how to be a team. The team came together Saturday to win the meet. Here’s a breakdown of the individual events.
Isaiah Ross won two events at the SW WA Invitational.
Swimming Event Results
Event 1 – 200 Medley Relay: Mountain View won (1:37.99), followed by Union A and B relays, and Mark Morris. Camas placed fifth.
Event 2 – 200 Freestyle: Isaiah Ross, of Washougal won (1:54.59), followed by Sam Walker, of Columbia River (1:54.77), and Nathan Hwang, of Union (2:03.04).
Event 3 – 200 IM: Eric Wu, of Camas, won (2:00.95), followed by Tom Utas, of Camas (2:05.02), and Austin Fogel, of Camas (2:07.26).
Event 4 – 50 Free: Josh Bottelberghe, of Columbia River, won (22.94), followed by Stuart Sardo, of Mountain View (24.32), and Michael Suk, of Mountain View (24.74).
Event 6 (no event 5) 100 Fly: Andrew Chang, of Union, won (53.53), followed by Josh Bottelberghe, of Columbia River (53.67), and Jacob McCarthy, of Mountain View (59.08).
Papermakers Austin Fogel (center), and Tom Utas (left) compete in the 200 IM.
Event 7 – 100 Free: Max Dolbinin, of Heritage, won (49.95), followed by Luke Albert, of Camas (52.27), and Chris Joa, of Mountain View (53.12).
Event 8 – 500 Free: Isaiah Ross, of Washougal, won (5:07.05), followed by Finn McClone, of Camas (5:17.74), and Tom Utas, also of Camas (5:19.27).
Event 9 – 200 Free Relay: Camas won (1:33.79), followed by Mountain View (1:36.00) and Camas B relay ( 1:42.02).
Andrey Khabibrakhmanov enters the pool. Photo by Blake Schnell.
Papermaker Austin Fogel waits for his first event.
Event 10 – 100 Back: Andrew Chang, of Union, won (56.20), followed by Jeff Fadlovich, of Camas (57.38), and Finn McClone, also of Camas (57.99).
Event 11 – 100 Breaststroke: Eric Wu, of Camas, won (1:02.69), followed by Max Dolbinin , of Heritage (1:06.53), and Austin Fogel, of Camas (1:07.25).
Event 12 – 200 Free Relay: Camas won the event (3:28.08). The team consisted of Tom Utas, Eric Wu, Finn McClone, and Luke Albert.
The team will convene once more, in two weeks, to compete at the 2016 District Championship, in Kelso. Many are still hoping to make state cuts at that event.
Max Dolbinin, of Heritage High School.
Papermaker swimmers cheer on teammates in the pool.
100 Back swimmers: From left: Sullivan Carrick, Landon Schmid, Daniel Brown, and Daniil Timchenko.