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By David Pan
Sports editor 

Knights appear to be on track for state title defense | Swimming

Vlad Gilszmer wins 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke at Kentridge Invitational


Last updated 1/15/2020 at 11:09am

David R Pan

Kamiak's Vlad Gilszmer, seen here at the 4A state meet, is the defending 500-yard freestyle champion.

The Kamiak boys swim team viewed the Kentridge Invitational as a good test against some of the top teams in the state, including defending 3A state champion Bainbridge and 4A runner-up Curtis.

The Knights successfully passed the test, scoring three first-place finishes and five top 3 finishes Saturday, Jan. 11, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Kamiak placed second behind Mercer Island in the team standings. 

Junior standout Vlad Gilszmer, the defending 4A state champion in the 500-yard freestyle, finished first in the 100 backstroke (51.01) and the 500 freestyle (4:36.93). Gilszmer, his twin brother Slava Gilszmer, Max Fang and Ryan Fang, also won the 400 freestyle relay in 3:09.80.

The Gilszmer brothers, Max Fang and senior Alex Kirby captured the 400 freestyle state relay crown.  

Vlad Gilszmer is pleased with the Knights' performance this season.

"Everybody is making a bunch of progress in the pool," he said. "I'm doing pretty good so far. I've had some of my best times this season."

The junior standout also took home a fourth-place state medal in the 200 freestyle.

Fang, who signed a letter of intent to swim for the University of British Columbia, recorded second-place finishes in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.

"I'm pretty confident we'll do well this season," said Fang, who took third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 100 freestyle at state.

The Kamiak senior was impressed by the University of British Columbia facilities and by his future teammates during a visit.

"The team was very committed and very positive, and they were very close," Fang said. "The pool was just amazing. It seemed like a perfect fit. It was a pretty easy choice."

Slava Gilszmer took third in the 200 freestyle and was third in the 500 freestyle. He brought home two state medals – second place in the 500 freestyle and fourth place in the 200 freestyle.

Kirby's graduation means that Kamiak coach Chris Erickson is looking for a replacement for the 400 freestyle relay team. He has a number of candidates, with Brian Park and Ryan Fang as the two frontrunners. So far they are the only Knights with sub-50-second splits.

"But there's a whole bunch right behind them," he said. "There's six or eight."

Erickson is contemplating mixing up the relays at the district meet to see who elevates their performance.

"You get to put eight kids on the relay card and you can swim any of them," he said. "We can put different combinations in the prelims, in the finals and try to figure it out. ... Some of them will swim the 100 freestyle as an individual event. That will give us feedback too. I don't know when we're going to make that decision."

Erickson noted that Kirby has a 48-second split and he's looking for someone with a similar time.

David R Pan

Kamiak's Max Fang placed third in the 200 freestyle finals. Gilszmer, his twin brother Slava Gilszmer, Fang and former teammate Alex Kirby won the state 400 freestyle relay last year.

"We want a 48-second. We don't have that yet," Erickson said. "We might need it to win. That's the inspiration – to replace Alex from last year."

Curtis, who finished behind Kamiak, also has three of their four members of the 400 relay back.

The Knights were just a couple of seconds off the state record in last year's finals.

"The winner of that relay might beat the state record," Erickson said. "It may take a state record to win it."

The Knights' 200 medley relay team of Vlad and Slava Gilszmer, Max Fang and Michael Viray took third and the 200 freestyle relay squad of Park, Oliver Holod, Ryan Fang and Jase Ugrin finished 10th. Holod also took seventh and Shay Cunningham was 11th in the 100 backstroke.

Park placed 13th in the 50 freestyle and Ryan Fang took 17th in the 100 freestyle. Diver Ryan Quinn placed 19th and Viray finished 20th in the 200 individual medley.


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