All-Region Boys Swimming: Hamlik Rises to the Top

All-American swims cap prep career for Prairie standout

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer

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photoJaron Hamlik, Prairie High School
photoJaron Hamlik of Prairie High School is The Columbian's boys All-Region athlete of the year in boys swimming.

(/The Columbian)

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Boys All-Region Swimming Team

SWIMMER OF THE YEAR

JARON HAMLIK, sr., PRAIRIE

Hamlik capped his high school career by placing third in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly at the Class 3A state meet, posting All-American consideration times in both events.

Rest of the All-Region team

KASEY CALWELL, JR., CAMAS: Placed second at 4A state in both 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.

BENJAMIN GRUBB, JR., COLUMBIA RIVER: Placed fifth at 3A state in 200 freestyle, sixth at 100 freestyle.

CULLYN NEWMAN, SR., HOCKINSON: Placed fourth at 2A state in both 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle.

JONAH RODEWALD, JR, HOCKINSON: Placed third at 2A state in 200 individual medley, fifth in 100 breaststroke.

LUCAS ULMER, JR., CAMAS: Placed fourth at state in 4A 100 butterfly, 13th in 100 backstroke.

CHRIS XUE, JR., MOUNTAIN VIEW: Placed 10th at 3A state in 100 freestyle, 12th at 50 freestyle.

Jaron Hamlik, for most of his high school career, was the boys swimming team for Prairie High School.

By his senior year, he was one of three swimmers representing Prairie, not quite enough to form a relay.

Hamlik says that was both a gift and a curse.

"It's been kind of nice to be on my own team and not to have relays, but also kind of sad for me to be the only one on the team and not have relays," he said.

Mixed feelings were a theme for Hamlik's final year of high school swimming.

He posted All-American consideration times in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke at the Class 3A state meet, but finished third in both events behind two All-American automatic qualifiers.

Although on the day of the meet he expressed the desire to finish higher, with the gift of perspective he was proud of how he finished.

"When I thought I wanted to place higher I wasn't disappointed at all," he said. "I feel like I put in the work, and I got what I deserved out of it."

Posting All-American consideration times in two events, which is a pool of the 150 top high school swimmers in the nation, was enough to earn Hamlik his second Columbian All-Region swimmer of the year honor.

Although he didn't have many Prairie teammates over the years, Hamlik said being able to train and compete with swimmers from the Camas and Hockinson swim teams eased some of the feelings that he was a one-man show.

Hamlik, who has been taking classes in Clark College's Running Start program, often woke up at 4:45 a.m. before making the trip to his swimming workouts in LaCamas Swim and Sport.

"He was able to rise to the occasion of the meet before him," said Mike Bemis, coach of the Camas and North County programs. "He has the ability to swim with and above the competition level of the meet that he's in."

Bemis considered Hamlik to be a leader by example. Before the season, they set goals. Hamlik would focus his energy more than ever on the butterfly and the backstroke.

Over the weekend of March 15, Hamlik competed in the senior sectionals of his final club season in what will likely be his last competitive swim meet.

He plans to finish up his Associate and Arts degree at Clark before transferring to WSU Vancouver to get his Bachelor's Degree.

"I definitely had an amazing time," he said.