Times drop for local swimmers at state meet

Despite no titles, Clark County well represented

By Candace Buckner, Columbian staff writer

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FEDERAL WAY — The conclusion of the Washington boys' swimming and diving state championships on Saturday coincided with the end of a long day for Camas sophomore Kasey Calwell.

Inside the King County Aquatics Center, Calwell medalled in four events, including two individual events and a pair of relays. When the Camas 400-yard freestyle relay touched the wall for seventh place after 9 p.m., Calwell had wrapped his busy day at the Class 4A state meet.

"I'm absolutely exhausted," Calwell said, "but it was very worth it, standing on the podium with my teammates."

Calwell found a home on the fourth-place medal stand.

He began the day as the first leg in the Papermakers' 200-yard medley relay (Jake Yraceburu, Lucas Ulmer and John Utas) that finished fourth. Later, Calwell earned the same positions in his individual events, the 200 individual medley (1 minute and 55.70 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (59.96 seconds). Yraceburu also competed in the breaststroke finals, placing seventh overall.

Camas did not place high enough to receive a team trophy but Calwell considered the meet a success because so many teammates dropped time.

"It was really fun to see people who haven't been here before or placed before get to the goals that they wanted to achieve," Calwell said. "Everybody stepped up."

Also in the 4A competition, Skyview senior Eric Bugna placed seventh in 100-yard backstroke with a time of 54.48 seconds.

Class 3A

When Alexander Suk first joined the Mountain View swim team as a freshman, he would look up the team records and joke about breaking them some day.

Suk was not sincere about the claims, because at the time he couldn't fathom himself swimming that fast. However on Saturday afternoon, after Suk had completed his final event as a high school swimmer, school records had become a serious matter.

Suk topped his own Mountain View all-time marks in the 50 free (21.80 seconds, fifth place overall) and 100 free (48.29, seventh) events and also earned four state medals.

"This was our last swim in our high school career, (so) just give it our best," Suk said after his 400 freestyle relay finished fourth overall. "Even if it was going to be painful."

The same quartet in the 400 free relay — Chris Xue, Cody Mouw along with Alexander and Michael Suk -- also placed fourth overall in the 200 free relay and finished in 1:28.68, another school record according to Alexander Suk.

"Last week, we were getting pretty hyped up for state," Suk said. "We wanted to do the best that we could."

Also in the 3A meet, Prairie junior Jaron Hamlik picked up a pair of medals and All-America consideration times in his events but remained unfulfilled with his speed.

Hamlik swam a 1:53.24 in the 200 IM and a 51.51 in the 100 backstroke, and finished in fourth place in both events. Still, Hamlik wanted more.

"I placed, so I'm happy about that," Hamlik said, "But I was hoping to go faster."

As the lone Prairie state qualifier, Hamlik, a home-school student, had only competed in two meets before state this weekend.

A right shoulder injury held Hamlik out for a month and a half, yet the injury did not keep him from reaching his personal-record times at state. Though Hamlik will continue his club-swimming season in a few weeks, he plans to return to the high school pool for his senior season.

"Definitely," Hamlik said. "I want to do better than I did this year."

Class 2A

For a first-time state participant like Hockinson sophomore Jonah Rodewald, the expansive King County Aquatics Center can produce a heap of nerves.

"Definitely a lot more intimidating with the big stands and all the people," Rodewald said.

However, Rodewald and his Hockinson teammates overcame their fears and excelled as a strong unit. Rodewald placed second in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 back while the team finished one spot behind trophy recognition in fifth place (156 points).

"We weren't expecting to (perform) as we did last year," senior Dylan Butler said. "(But) we all trained together and came together as a team and we did better than we did last year.

"We came a long ways."

Butler along with junior Cullyn Newman and sophomores Dylan Osbourne and Rodewald formed Hockinson's third-place 200 medley and 400 free relays. Besides the teamwork, Newman joined Rodewald for individual success when he swam a 56-second flat time in the 100 butterfly for third place.

These Saturday performances encouraged Hockinson swimmers for the future.

"I think as a team, we did really, really well," Osbourne said. "It's a big building block for next year. We'll have all the same guys except (Butler). I think next year we'll come out even stronger."