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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City Council member, Melissa Smith, agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chaney said this location is optimum.

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

Aquatics Center
A pool concept used in Camas pool planning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gallery: Examples of Aquatics Centers

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.

Swimming

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 — 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.

Kelso

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.

Kelso

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.

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

Swim Photo Gallery

 

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.”

Empey

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.”

To learn more, visit www.crstwaveriders.org or www.usaswimming.org

 

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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.

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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.

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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).

001663
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).

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Andrey Khabibrakhmanov enters the pool. Photo by Blake Schnell.
001644
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.

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Max Dolbinin, of Heritage High School.

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Papermaker swimmers cheer on teammates in the pool.

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

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

 

Hey, sports fans, there’s an athletics event happening just for you! There are a lot fun events happening in the coming days. Whether you love wrestling, bowling, basketball, swimming, dance, or gymnastics, the Papermakers have an event for you to attend.

 

Athletics This Week

 
Tonight:
Wrestling (JV/V) @ Skyview HS, 5:30/7:00

Friday:
Bowling @ Crosley Lanes, 7 pm
Basketball Boys/Girls C @ Camas, 3:45
Basketball Boys/Girls JV @ Heritage, 3:45
Basketball Girls Varsity @ Heritage, 5:30
Basketball Boys Varsity @ Heritage, 7 pm
Saturday:
Wrestling Girls/JV @ Prairie, 8 am
Unified Basketball @ Prairie, 9 am
Dance Competition @ Union, 10 am
Swim SWW Invite @ Mark Morris, 10 am
Gymnastics @ Northpoint, 5 pm
The boys swim team is undefeated this season, and the team looks forward to their annual Southwest Washington Invitational in Longview, WA.
The wrestling team has also made significant gains this season.
To learn more, visit www.chs.wednet.edu

With just one regular season meet left, the Camas Boys Swimming (12-0) is riding a wave of success.

But it hasn’t come easy.
Late last summer, the team learned practice times would move to 5:15 am at the Lacamas Swim and Sport Club. Immediately, the swimmers thought the early hour would affect morale, energy, grades, performance, etc.
But it didn’t.
They rose to the occasion, and like champions they pushed these obstacles out of the way. After a string of 12 victories, the boys, guided by Coach Mike Bemis, and assistant Leslie, continue their daily regimen of swimming 140 laps (3,000-3,500 meters) apiece.
It’s great conditioning, but like Freshman Kevin Chen says, “it’s hard to jump into that cold water at 5:15 every day.”
Swimming

 

KELSO, WA — It was a great night for Prairie senior Jaron Hamlik, who broke two meet records, a pool record and made State qualifying times at Friday’s Kelso Invitational.

Hamlik blasted his way through the 50 Free (22.10) breaking a 13-month old record, previously held by Chris Xue. Hamlik’s time not only broke a meet record, but also a pool record, and qualified him for State.

He also broke a meet record in the 100 Fly (53.24) and also made a State cut in that event, as well. The meet record was previously held by former Skyview swimmer, Eric Bugna. His time was 54.42.

“It felt really good,” Hamlik said. “It was the fastest start I’ve ever had.”

Prairie Senior Has Work Ethic

His coach, Mike Bemis, said Hamlik continues to be dedicated to excellent practices and behavior, just as he has for many seasons.

“He’s an incredibly hard worker,” Bemis said. “He has tremendous work ethic. And this was his day.”

And, Lucas Ulmer, a teammate from both the high school and club (Columbia River Swim Team, or CRST) teams, has nothing but high praise for his friend.

“Jaron is a competitor,” said Ulmer.

 

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Skyview senior Eric Bugna has had a stellar swimming career, and as he sees his high school years coming to a quick end, he talks about his journey while looking forward to his future — which includes swimming for the University of Redlands, in Southern California.

“I have swam since I was 7 years old but I started club swimming at age 12,” said Bugna. “I love the individuality of the sport but I also love that although you’re swimming for your own times, your places add up to help your team.

When I was 16 I was selected as part of the Oregon zone team and placed top 5 at that meet from swimmers all over the western half of the nation. Also being able to qualify and place at state all four years of my high school experience has been great.”

During that time, Bugna has also kept his grades up and continues to be in the National Honor Society.

This fall, Bugna will be moving south to the University of Redlands, where he will be swimming at the collegiate level.

“I received scholarships based on my swimming and academics,” he added. “A total 75 percent of my college is paid for. It’s great!”

Bugna says he really enjoys club swimming the most

Eric Bugna
Bugna finishes an event at State 4A Prelims.

“Most of us are on the same level so swimming with them is really fun because we can race and train hard together,” he said. “High School swimming is very fun because a lot of my friends are on it and it’s kind of funny to watch all the people who try out thinking it’s easy, and end up having a hard time. It’s a really great sport. Swimming has taught me to be self determined and how to work with others.”

Bugna said goodbye to high school swimming in February, where he competed at State and made it to the podium.

Bugna still competes for Columbia River Swim Team (CRST), where he’s coached by Darlene Hill and Doug Lumbard. His high school coach is Ron Heidenreich.

“I want to thank them all for keeping my love for the sport and motivating me to become the swimmer I am today,” he said. “My friend Kienen, Matt, Jake, all from high school were my best friends on the team and I’d like to acknowledge Lucas Ulmer, Kasey Calwell and Chris Xue for being awesome training buddies at club practices.”

Eric Bugna
Bugna at State competing against friend, Lucas Ulmer.

 

As the “Senior Sectionals” 12-state regional swim meet continues in Federal Way, WA local Vancouver swimmer Julia Sanders is making her mark.

During the intense competition, Sanders has a full schedule and is competing in the following events: 100 Free, 200 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Back, 200 IM and 50 Free.

“Everything is cool,” said Sanders. “It’s good so far, I made finals in the 100 Free and I’m swimming the 200 Free in Finals tonight.”

This fall, Sanders is attending Texas Christian University on a swimming scholarship.

She has been swimming for Columbia River Swim Team (CRST) for many years, and enjoys the work and competition that comes from club swimming.

“It’s been such a great experience,” she said. “I’m so grateful for Coach Darlene and all the things she has taught us over the years.”

Stay tuned for further swim meet results.

About CRST

The CRST program is characterized philosophically by the principles of self-image. This discipline is concerned with guiding and direction individual toward maximum development of their talents and abilities. Similarly, the CRST coaching staff endeavors to teach, train and motivate young people to achieve their ultimate potential int swimming in the belief that this experience will prove valuable to them as they grow and develop.

The CRST program strives to instill in young swimmers and understanding of, and appreciation for such concepts as High self-esteem, personal accountability, self-discipline, and goal setting and goal achievement as these ideas relate to their success in training competition.

To learn more, visit www.crstwaveriders.org

 

Julia Sanders