FEDERAL WAY — Kamiak junior Eben Schumann stood on the starting block in Lane 3. A few feet away to his left in Lane 4 was Eastlake senior Edward Kim, one of the most accomplished swimmers in state history.
And if you’re looking for a good metaphor for Kamiak’s weekend at the 2014 4A boys swimming and diving state meet, it could be found in that moment, and in that 100-yard freestyle race.
Kim won, because Kim always wins at state — he became just the second boys swimmer in state history to win eight individual state titles in eight tries during his four-year career — while Schumann swam well, but not quite as well as he would have liked, finishing third, just .06 seconds out of second place.
“When I’m swimming against Kim, the first thing I think is, ‘OK, this is a race for second. I’m racing the guy in lane 5. This is Kim’s race, he can have it. I want second.’” said Schumann, who also finished third in the 50-free, breaking his own school record with a time of 21.30.
Kamiak came into the meet as the defending champs, winners of three state titles in five years, but the Knights also came to the King County Aquatics Center knowing a repeat was highly unlikely. Like Schumann in the 100 free, the Knights knew they probably couldn’t win; like Schumann, the Knights swam well, accomplished something they can be proud of, a 10th-place finish in the team competition; but like Schumann, who was hoping for second, the defending champs were hoping to do a little better than that 10th-place finish.
The Knights came to state with seven swimmers, making a repeat a near-impossible task, not only because two of their top swimmers from last year graduated, Liam Sosinsky and John Stupey, but also because many of the schools that finished ahead of them, including runaway winner Newport, got better with the addition of young talent.
“It went pretty well,” said Kamiak coach Chris Erickson. “I think we had some really good swims and we had some OK swims, nothing was horrible. It was a pretty deep meet for sure, and we had basically the same team except no Liam and no John. So we’re happy with it, that was a nice way to finish it off with a nice time drop there (in the 400-free relay). It was a good season.”
In addition to Schumann, Kamiak got strong performances from junior Shelby Lee, who finished fourth in the 100 free behind Schumann, sophomore Henry Limm, who was eighth in the 500 free, and senior Carey Daniel, who combined with those three to take sixth in the 400-free relay.
Prior to this season, the Knights had won state titles in 2009, 2011 and 2013, so even if they knew they were long-shots this year, it was still a different experience coming to state with lower team expectations.
“It was definitely an interesting experience to come in with only seven guys swimming,” Schumann said. “We didn’t have a guy in each event, so we knew we’d take hits there. Just getting a feel for what our team was, there wasn’t a feeling of sadness to come into a meet, because we knew we had a low chance winning it because our spread wasn’t all that great. So it’s not horrible.”
The Knights lose only one senior, but if they are going to continue their every-other-year streak, Erickson says they’ll need an influx of young swimmers joining the program next year.
“We’ll see what we pick up,” he said. “We’ll strive to do better.”
Other local finalists
Lake Stevens junior Chase Reid finished fifth in the diving competition with a score of 364.0, Snohomish senior Easton Lemos was sixth in the 200-yard freestyle, and Jackson junior Conner McGinnis was eighth in the 100-yard backstroke.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.
4A State Meet
At King County Aquatic Center
Top 8 advance to finals
200 medley relay—1. Issaquah 1:35.91, 9. Kamiak (Shelby Lee, Alonzo Tacuyan, Henry Limm, Eben Schumann) 1:39.78; 200 free—1. Edward Kim (Eastlake) 1:37.42, 6. Eason Lemos (Snohomish) 1:46.80, 16. Jeffery Lozensky (Lake Stevens) 1:51.52; 200 individual medley—1. Brain Woodbury (Curtis) 1:50.31, 13. Henry Limm (Kamiak) 1:59.73; 50 freestyle—1. Thomas Anderson (Federal Way) 20.19, 3. Eben Schumann (K) 21.30, 9. Travis Spitzock (Cascade) 22.19, 16. Jacob Rudolph (Sno) 23.39; Diving—1. Eric Klassen (Redmond) 468.75, 5. Chase Reid (LS) 364.00, 8. Joel Tonsgard (Sno) 329.55, 11. Justin Welch (Cas) 312.10, 15. Hunter Graves (Sno) 282.65; 100 butterfly—1. Chase Bublitz (Kentridge) 48.80, 15. Alex Nguyenle (Edmonds-Woodway) 54.95; 100 freestyle—1. Kim 43.90, 3. Schumann 47.66, Lee 47.70; 500 freestyle—1. Patrick Geideman (Richland) 4:36.13, 8. Limm 4:50.80, 12. Lozensky 4:55.83; 200 freestyle—1. Gig Harbor 1:27.91; 100 backstroke—1. Anderson 48.10, 8. Conner McGinnis (Jackson) 53.33, Lee 53.82; 100 breaststroke—1. Keith Schendel (Roosevelt) 57.13; 400 free relay—1. Kentridge 3:12.66, 8. Kamiak (Shelby Lee, Eben Schumann, Henry Limm, Daniel Carey)