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January 7, 2015 at 9:52 AM

The MEDLEY | High School Swim Blog Week 12

Kamiak boys streaking, times two

By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times

Like most high school boys swim teams, the Kamiak Knights are going about the business of preparing for the weekend of February 20 and 21. That’s the weekend all classifications meet at King County Aquatic Center for the state meets, and with only about seven weeks left the Knights are in full swing trying to piece together a state roster.

But Kamiak has another calendar date it is looking toward, as well, about a month earlier. The Knights have January 22 circled – the day they will swim Jackson in a Wesco dual meet.

The Timberwolves, you see, are regarded as the biggest threat to Kamiak’s current dual-meet win streak. The Knights have won 98 dual meets in a row.

Thursday afternoon, Kamiak hosts Shorecrest and is expected to extend the streak to 99. Next week, the Knights have road meets at Meadowdale, Snohomish and Glacier Peak that would take the streak to 102 before the showdown with Jackson.

“You live with it and die with it,” Kamiak coach Chris Erickson said. “Sometimes its fun and easy. Then at times it’s pretty crazy.”

A couple of years ago, it appeared the win streak was over, in fact. During a double-dual against Shorecrest and Shorewood, Kamiak actually trailed heading into the final relay.

The Knights won the relay, but appeared to have tied one of their meets. As it turned out, the official scorer had inadvertently subtracted points for a disqualification earlier in the meet when it was another swimmer that had actually been disqualified.

“We went into the locker room thinking we had tied,” Erickson said. “But we thought, wait, that’s not what our scoring says. Turns out we had won.”

And the streak lived.

Such streaks reaching triple digits in any sport are rare, and certainly evoke thoughts of De La Salle’s high school record 151-game winning spree in football. Of course, Kamiak still has a ways to go to reach Dick Hannula’s Wilson Rams of Tacoma, who won 323 in a row from 1960-83.

Kamiak still would have years to go to reach those lofty heights. And there is that Jackson meet ahead in just two weeks.

For the seniors, there is a sense of pride in the streak.

“My class never has lost a dual meet here,” Eben Schumann said.

Schumann, a sprint freestyle specialist, has been a consistent force for the Knights the past four years. Along with fellow senior Shelby Lee and junior Henry Lim, Schumann helped Kamiak win its third state title in six seasons just two years ago.

The Knights have won the title every other year during that span – in 2009, 2011 and 2013. That pattern would suggest another run next month, February 2015.

“We’ve got to try to keep up the tradition,” Schumann said.

Despite good performances at state, Schumann doesn’t have an individual state title to his name yet. He intends to stay with his core events again this season, the 50 and 100 freestyles.

And Schumann, who hasn’t made a college choice yet but is being courted by several Northwest Conference schools including Whitworth and PLU as well as Division 1 Seattle U., is confident he’ll break through this season.

“Grabbing a state title is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” Schumann said. “I feel like I can say with relative confidence that I am going to take a state title. If I can grab those points, we can get Kamiak up there and hopefully get another title.”

Of course, a few other things would need to happen as well. Lee, for instance, would help by winning the 100 backstroke. He currently has the top time in the state this winter in the event.

And the relays have to come along.

“With our relays, we have three guys,” Erickson said. “We’re still looking for the fourth guy on those. During our ‘12 days of Christmas’ training, a lot of them really improved. If Eben and/or Shelby got an individual title, that would be really cool.”

Those relays are the key to having any chance at rising above a Top 10 or Top 5 finish at state and contending for the championship, though.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to get lucky, too,” Erickson said. “And sometimes there’s a little bit of strategy. We should be there, in the Top 5. But can we win a relay or two?”

Such streaks, either going for a fourth state title or extending a dual-meet win string, aren’t often noticed as quickly in a sport like swimming as they may be in football or basketball, Erickson knows.

“The feeling often is, you are second-class citizens,” Erickson said of swimmers. “After we won a couple of state titles, that changed a little. But something like this streak, it gives these swimmers, these second-class citizens, something where they can say hey, we work hard, too.”

Comments | More in Swimming | Topics: boys swimming, De La Salle, Jackson


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