The Camas High School boys swimmers are not afraid of their new surroundings in the 4A Greater St. Helens League. All it takes is a backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly or freestyle to make ripples across the landscape.
Seniors Jake Yraceburu, Nick Panebianco, Trent Harimoto, Seth Albert, Alec Geenty, Jeffery Lee and Ian Walker designed a swimming tradition in Camas. Although the Papermakers are in the largest classification in Washington, their goals continue to grow. They want to win the league and district titles, and become a top five team at the state championship meet.
“I love racing at districts and state, and seeing all those hardworking mornings and afternoons paying off,” Harimoto said. “Don’t hold back in your races. That little extra effort of pain will be gone in a minute, but the results and the memories you get will last a lifetime.”
The Camas boys are already building their state team. Kasey Calwell, Yraceburu, Lucas Ulmer and John Utas hit a state time of 1 minute, 43.8 seconds in the 200-meter medley relay during the first dual meet of the season. Calwell also reached state in the 200 individual medley (2:02.84). Albert, Calwell, Ulmer and Yraceburu qualified for state in the 400 freestyle relay (3:47.40) Thursday, at David Douglas High School in Portland, Ore. Calwell, Harimoto, Ulmer and Utas advanced in the 200 freestyle relay (1:42.95). Utas is also going to state in the 100 freestyle (56.70).
“It’s always nice after the first meet to be able to call our athletic director and say we are going to state. Get our rooms ready,” said head coach Mike Bemis. “Our goal is to make it to the state meet every year. We’re not satisfied with just individuals, we want to take a team to state.”
After beating Kelso 123-54 and David Douglas 100-67, Camas capped off one of the busiest weeks Bemis can remember by winning the 14-team Sprint Pentathlon Saturday, at the Mark Morris High School pool in Longview. Ulmer earned first in the 200 IM (2:07.19), and second in the 25 fly (12.70) and the 100 free (51.94). Albert grabbed first in the 100 fly (59.84) and second in the 200 free (1:55.92). Calwell clinched first in the 100 free (50.69), Nick Langer notched second in the 25 free (12.81) and Max Urbanek took second in the 500 free (5:23.20).
Bemis was pleased with the endurance of his returning athletes. He said they are already competing at a higher level than they were at the end of last season. The new swimmers face a giant learning curve in their first season. They have to learn the different events, how to prepare for each race, where the schools are from and the qualifying times they need to make if they want to swim at districts and state. The rookies and veterans cleared many of those hurdles in the last week alone.
“They had to race, cool down, warm back up, race, cool down, warm back up and race again. That is just like it is at districts and state,” Bemis said. “You can run to school, but there’s only one place to swim and that’s in the pool. If we can make these kids as tired as they can be, and then rest and get our quality work done, we should be ready to swim fast and long at districts and state.”
Team captains Harimoto, Panebianco and Yraceburu want to finish their senior seasons off with a bang. They look forward to racing against Skyview, Union and Mountain View. They also want to see a lot of Camas swimmers in the pool at the King County Aquatics Center for the state meet.
“Make this your own, and have fun doing it,” Panebianco said. “Otherwise, you are not giving your all.”