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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region boys swimming: Isaiah Ross, Washougal

Senior has helped the Panthers' swim program grow

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: March 10, 2019, 10:00pm

Long after his upcoming graduation, Isaiah Ross hopes to see a robust and successful swimming program when he returns to walk the halls of Washougal High School. He hopes to see banners that say “swim” hanging in the gym.

For Ross, The Columbian’s All-Region Swimmer of the Year, the Panther swimming program’s success from here on out is a source of pride. Whatever the future has in store for the program, he leaves knowing the integral part he played in its formation.

After all, Ross has been an instrumental part in building it. He was a part of the school’s first swimmers as a freshman, and he hopes his success has blazed a path for more Washougal students to pursue the sport.

“A lot of other schools have bigger programs than us,” Ross said. “Washougal doesn’t have swimming on the wall with all the other sports in the gym. Now we’ve got that kind of stuff and the program’s growing, it’s a great thing.”

Ross capped his high school career with a second- and third-place finish at the 2A state swim meet. He finished second in the 100-yard butterfly in a back-and-forth race the saw the winner, Pullman’s Holdon Elsworth, edge Ross by a half a second in the last few strides.

Ross and Camas/Washougal coach Mike Bemis’ game plan going into the prelims was to simply hold his placement at second. He did, which set up a sprint in the finals.

“I thought I would just all out race it in the finals and we had a really great race with that one,” Ross said. “He got me by a half a second, which is disappointing, but it was a really great race to have a lot of fun.”

He placed third in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 43.05 seconds.

Ross also placed second in the 100 fly as a junior.

But Ross’ legacy at Washougal will not just be defined by his state finishes. According to Bemis, who began coaching Ross as a freshman when the schools co-opted, Ross has built legitimate momentum in the program.

“He’s been kind of the lead horse for getting a program started in Washogual, showing that they have that kind of skill and leadership going on at that school,” Bemis said. “Now we’re hoping to build off of his and Daniel Brown’s success down there.”

Next, Ross hopes to swim in college. As of now, he’s deciding between Whitworth and Redlands.

But in the meantime, he’s been talking to parents of incoming freshmen with swimming experience and telling them about the opportunity to swim at Washougal.

What started with three boys and three girls has remained steady. This year, Washougal’s roster had eight girls and three boys. Ross would like to see that grow.

“I know there’s a community here that would support it,” Ross said. “Up at Lacamas, they would give lanes, the school has to push for it. I know there’s kids out there that want to do it. I would love to see a big growing program at Washougal.”

The Rest of the All-Region team

Jaden Kim, Camas

Finished third at 4A state in the 100 butterfly with an All-American consideration time of 49.59.

Alex Curran, Battle Ground

Fourth place finish at 4A state in the 100 backstroke with a 51.24 finish.

Val Tikhomirov, Union

Seventh place finish at 4A state in the 100 breaststroke with a 58.84.

Ilia Zablotoviskii, Evergreen

Fourth place 3A state finish in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.

Simon Parish, Columbia River

Placed seventh at 2A state in the 200 individual medley.

David Peddie, Camas

Finished fifth in the 500 free at 4A state with a 4:46.07.

Columbian Staff Writer