Girls Swimming Preview: McGee sisters help Camas grow its fledgling dive program

first_img Follow Until 2017, the Camas dive team hadn’t qualified a diver to state in at least two decades. The Papermakers went more than a decade without any divers in the program.Then the McGee sisters — Irelyne and Shealyne — came along, and with Jax Purwins, used their gymnastics background to start up the Camas dive team again. Now the Papermakers are a staple on the boards at the state championships each fall in Federal Way. All three girls on the team qualified for state in 2017. With Purwins graduated, the McGee sisters continued to leave their imprint by both earning spots again at the King County Aquatic Center last year. Irelyne McGee finished sixth in the 4A competition.Together with Lili Ford, the three are again eyeing big things as some of the only divers in the area.“It’s exciting,” Irelyne McGee said. “It’s cool to be part of the team in that way and be able to help contribute.” By Joshua Hart, Columbian staff writer Published: September 3, 2019, 7:20pm Buy this Photo Camas senior Irelyne McGee, right, and junior Shealyne McGee stand by the pool at Cascade Athletic Club in Vancouver. The sisters make up two-thirds of the Camas dive team, which also includes junior Lili Ford. Joshua Hart/The Columbian Girls Swimming Preview: McGee sisters help Camas grow its fledgling dive program GO Diving in Southwest Washington can be a chore. There are few places to practice, and the commute to do so — at Tualatin Hills in Beaverton or at Kelso — is an hour each way. Camas coach Mike Bemis calls the culprit “a lack of water”.“This takes a lot commitment,” Bemis said. “The girls have to wake up early, go to school with wet hair while grabbing a snack on the way. And on top of it, the divers have to drive an hour.”The McGees don’t know it any other way. When they lived in Colorado, diving was difficult to practice, too.“Diving has never really been easy for me,” Irelyne McGee said. “It’s kind of a pain in the butt and it’s hard to get there often enough to train as well as the girls up in Seattle do.” It also puts stress on other areas of life, such as schoolwork. The divers often don’t get home until 7:30 p.m. after a long day of school and training.“It’s hard if you’re doing it every day,” Irelyne McGee said.But the McGees keep coming back. For Shealyne McGee, a star gymnast on the last year’s state champion team, it provides something new and different to hone her skills in. She’ll be the one tasked with keeping the Papermakers dive program alive when Irelyne McGee graduates this year. She can borrow her pitch to prospective divers from her sister.“One of my first coaches told me that diving isn’t really about throwing your body off something, it’s about getting over your fears,” Irelyne McGee said. “That’s probably the best part.”As for the future of diving in the area, Bemis is hopeful. There’s potential to have a diving area at an incoming Camas aquatic center. It could help keep the Papermakers’ team complete. Follow The Columbian on Instagram “The points are nice, but it’s just nice to have a full team,” Bemis said. “It’s a swim and dive program.”Swimmers to watchHailey Grotte: The La Center senior and two-time All-Region Swimmer of the Year finished second in state in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle.Bryanna Ungs: The La Center junior was the 2A state runner-up in the 100 breaststroke and placed third in the 200 individual medley.Paeton Lesser: The Camas junior was the 4A GSHL swimmer of the year and placed eighth at state in the 100 free and 16th in the 200 individual medley. This article is part of The Columbian’s High School Fall Sports 2019 special section, published in print on Sept. 1. View it online. Joshua Hart Columbian staff writer Key DatesSept. 18 — Local meet-up: Washougal, Evergreen, Heritage, Mountain View and Union meet with Camas at Cascade Athletic Club for an early-season test.Oct. 12 — Kelso Invite: Nearly every local team heads to Gaither Pool in Kelso for one of the biggest invites of the season.Oct. 26 — Southwest Washington Invite: All local teams meet at Dick Mealy Memorial Pool in Longview for one of the last chances to put up a qualifying mark.Nov. 15-16 — State: WIAA state meet at King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Share: Carly Kahler: The Union junior earned first-team all-league honors in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle in the 4A GSHL last season.Abby Crowson: The Union senior finished 23rd at 4A state in the 100 butterfly and 21st in the 100 backstroke last season. She was also part of the 200 medley relay at state.Shu-Ting Jones: The Mountain View senior earned first-team all-league honors in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly in the 3A GSHL, qualifying for state in the latter.Emily Ipe: The Mountain View senior earned first-team all-league honors in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle in the 3A GSHL, qualifying for state in both. [email protected] Tags Receive latest stories and local news in your email: By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Share: Camas Papermakers last_img read more

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