Eighteen finalists propelled the Papermaker boys swimmers to their third straight district championship trophy Saturday, at Kelso High School.
Camas generated 406 points to squash the competition in the seven-team meet. Mountain View was second with 248 points.
“I’ll remember everything about this meet,” said senior Lucas Ulmer. “We had so many kids in the consolations and the finals. The amount of kids that made it this far really surprised me.”
When Nick Kabel looks back at his high school career in Camas, he sees lots of gold. He helped the Papermakers become three-time champions by winning 10 district races.
“It’s a great end for senior year,” Kabel said. “It’s kind of surreal that this was my last district meet. I had a lot of fun sharing it with all my friends.”
Kabel got off to a hot start by setting a new pool record time of 22.32 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle during Thursday’s preliminary round. He came back Saturday and won the championship race in 22.62 seconds.
“When I hit the water Thursday, I just felt good,” Kabel said. “I remember getting to the wall and making a great turn. I was so pumped up I didn’t feel like I had to breathe. I just kept going, hit the pad, looked up and got the record.”
Kabel shared another pool record with Trent Harimoto, Kasey Calwell and John Utas. The four Camas swimmers captured the 200 freestyle relay championship with a time of 1:32.02.
“That was one of the best relays I’ve ever been a part of,” Calwell said. “I don’t think I’ve ever hugged my teammates so much after a swim.”
The Papermakers gathered 59 points in the 100 breaststroke by sweeping the top four spots. Jake Yraceburu won the race with a time of 1:01.2, followed by Calwell (1:03.1), Ian Ulmer (1:06.91) and Joseph Wunderlich (1:10.02). Seven more points came from Xin Yang Chen winning the consolation finals (1:14.17).
“The instant I saw that the four of us were seeded in the finals, we were all laughing and having so much fun,” Yraceburu said. “It’s good to go up against your teammates. Every meet, you are in such close competition with them. It makes you want to swim faster just to try and beat them.”
Lucas Ulmer, Yraceburu, Kabel and Utas took second in the 200 medley relay (1:41). Harimoto, Calwell, Ian Ulmer and Lucas Ulmer earned second in the 400 freestyle relay (3:24.33).
Seth Albert (1:57.17), Max Urbanek (1:59.65) and Nick Panebianco (2:01.97) placed second, third and fourth in the 200 freestyle. Calwell (2:01.99) and Lucas Ulmer (2:02.95) snatched second and third in the 200 individual medley. Utas took third in the 50 free (22.92); Kabel clinched third in the 100 butterfly (55.99) and Lucas Ulmer grabbed third in the 100 backstroke (57.08).
Camas is sending all three relay teams and several individuals to the state championship meet Friday and Saturday, at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.
“I want to do better in my individual events, but I am actually looking forward to being a part of the relays more,” Kabel said. “If everyone does their best, I believe that good things are ahead of us at state this year.”