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 — 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.

To learn more, visit

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.”


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 or


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.

To learn more, visit


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

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

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
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

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.”


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


Julia Sanders


Several members of the Columbia River Swim Team (CRST) are competing in the 2013 Speedo Western Zone Champions, or commonly called “Senior Sectionals” at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

The event lasts four days and includes high-level swimmers from 12 states, according to Doug Lombard, co-founder of CRST. The swimmers included high school and college stars, as well as former Olympians.

“You have to be proficient and fast to even get there,” said Lombard.

The event is considered one step below Nationals and several of the swimmers are currently trying to attain Junior National and Olympic trials cuts.

Kasey Calwell (shown in this photo), who attends King’s Way and also swims for Camas High School, is competing in multiple events, alongside several of this teammates, including: Eric Bugna, Chris Xue, Alex Suk, Julia Sanders, Darya Samlee, Anna Pannebianco, and Andrea Young.

Calwell swam the 200 Breast and 100 Free today, and will compete in the 400 IM on Thursday, and the 100 Back and 100 Breast on Saturday. On Sunday, he competes in the 200 IM.

“So far today was great,” said Calwell. “I dropped three seconds in the 200 Breast and a tad in the Free. This is a crazy fast meet.”


Kasey Calwell
CRST swimmer Kasey Calwell competes at Senior Sectionals this week
at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, WA.