For a beginner, Jaron Hamlik had a pretty good high school swimming season.
A sophomore representing Prairie High School, Hamlik placed third in the 200-yard individual medley and placed sixth in the 100 backstroke at the Class 3A boys swimming state meet. Those results on Feb. 18 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way were the best from a Clark County swimmer. In addition to earning Hamlik a couple of medals, those efforts earned him The Columbian’s All-Region boys swimmer of the year.
Hamlik is not actually new to this sport. He has pretty much lived in the water for years. He first competed as an 8-year-old with the Tornadoes Swim Team in Vancouver. He spent a couple of years with a Beaverton, Ore., club, and now swims for the Columbia River Swim Team, another Vancouver club.
But this was the first time Hamlik has competed in high school swimming.
“I had a lot of people try to talk me into swimming high school last year. I just didn’t think it would be something I would enjoy,” Hamlik said.
“This year I thought I would give it a try, and I loved it. It was so much fun.”
Though he was a one-man team for Prairie, Hamlik said he enjoyed the social side of high school swimming. He appreciated the support from members of other county schools at the district and state meets.
It would be nice, he said, to have at least four Prairie swimmers so he could enter relay races. But Hamlik is home-schooled. He represents Prairie because he lives in the school’s boundaries, but has seldom been in the building.
The individual challenges of the sport is one reason that at the age of 12 Hamlik chose to focus on swimming full time.
“I like how it’s not only racing other people, how it’s trying to beat your best time,” Hamlik said.
Placed third in the 200-yard individual medley at the Class 3A state championships with a PR time of 1:53.44.
Placed sixth in the 100-yard backstroke at the Class 3A state championships with a time of 53.18 seconds.
Won district titles in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke.
More about Jaron
Between high school practices and Columbia River Swim Team practices, he trained for more than 21 hours most weeks during the high school season.
Jaron swam in five individual events and five relays representing Columbia River Swim Team at the recent Western Region Long Course Sectional meet.
Jaron’s favorite TV show is White Collar, a USA Network crime drama series.
Jaron enjoys action movies. He is looking forward to “The Avengers,” which is due out this summer.
Next year and beyond
Jaron plans to continue with high school swimming for two more years and hopes to win a state championship.
“You don’t have to necessarily have to rely on a ton of other people. You can do your own thing.”
Explaining one of the reasons he enjoys competitive swimming.
Rest of All-Region team
Jonathan Brodeur, jr., Union: 4A Greater St. Helens League co-swimmer of the year.
Arash Davani, sr., Mountain View: Placed seventh in 3A state meet in 100 butterfly.
Kyle Law, sr., Mountain View: Placed 10th at 3A state meet in 100 backstroke.
Jim Nguyen, jr., Evergreen: Placed sixth at 4A state meet in 100 breaststroke.
Lucas Ulmer, fr., Camas: Placed 10th at 3A state meet in 200 individual medley.
Jake Yraceburu, sr., Camas: Placed fifth at 3A state meet in 100 breaststroke.