By David Pan
Sports editor 

Knights successfully defend state boys swim titles

Vlad Gilszmer wins 500 freestyle, helps 200 free relay to victory


Last updated 2/26/2020 at 10:54am

David R Pan

Kamiak's Vlad Gilszmer won the 500-yard freestyle for the second straight year at the 4A State Swimming Championships Saturday, Feb. 22, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Kamiak's Vlad and Slava Gilszmer turned out to be just as quick on their feet as they were in the pool.

Minutes after finishing first and second in the 500-yard freestyle for the second straight year, the twin brothers helped the Knights successfully defend their 200-freestyle relay title at the 4A State Swimming Championships Saturday, Feb. 22, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Senior Max Fang, senior Brian Park and the Gilszmer brothers claimed the 200 freestyle relay crown with a meet- and school-record time of 1 minute, 25.53 seconds, edging Skyline, which finished .09 seconds behind in 1:25.62. The previous record was 1:26.32 by Wilson in 1991.

The brief break between the 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay finals was a little frenetic for the Gilszmer brothers.

"If you saw the chaos of getting into the pictures, trying to warm down, back to the ready room, get some jackets on – well, forget the jackets, there's no time for that," Kamiak coach Chris Erickson said. "Get up there and go. And then to win the state record in that 200 was pretty awesome."

Vlad Gilszmer tried to stay calm despite the circumstances.

"It was pretty exciting," he said. "I knew we had a good chance to win. So all of our guys just went all out for the relay."

Fang opened with a strong first leg to give the Knights the lead.

"I knew going into it I had to do my part," Fang said. "With the twins, I knew they're going to do their part even though they're tired, too. So I wanted to give them a good lead."

Park and Slava Gilszmer followed Fang, and the Knights and Spartans were about even when Vlad Gilszmer and Skyline's Colin Huynh dove into the pool for the final leg.

"The two guys in the middle, they've got to do their part. They got it done," Erickson said.

Vlad Gilszmer felt it was going to be a close finish.

"I knew it was pretty much all or nothing," he said. "So I swam all out for it."

Vlad Gilszmer said he and his teammates were hoping to set a new meet record.

"I knew what the time was that we had to beat," he said. "When I saw that we beat the time and got first place, I was really excited for myself and all my teammates."

The Gilszmers dominated the 500 freestyle for the second straight year. Vlad easily won the race in 4:30.91 with Slava taking second in 4:36.47.

"We've been training pretty hard for that," Vlad Gilszmer said. "So it's nice for both of us."

The Knights' 400 freestyle relay team of Max Fang, junior Ryan Fang, Slava Gilszmer and Vlad Gilszmer took second place behind Curtis. Their time of 3:09.23 was a school record.

Vlad Gilszmer led a trio of Knights in the 200 freestyle finals. Vlad took third place and was followed by Fang, who finished fourth. Slava placed eighth. Fang also took third place in the 100 freestyle.

Fang appreciated the electric atmosphere and loud crowd support at the high school state championships.

"You swim for your school and team," Fang added. "It's kind of different from club. It really pushes you to perform alongside your teammates."

Kamiak's 200 medley relay team of Oliver Holod, Michael Viray, Justin Gillette and Park advanced to the consolation finals, where they placed 15th overall. Park took 10th in the 50 freestyle.

"All of our guys have been training hard the whole year," Vlad Gilszmer said. "It finally paid off today."

Kamiak wasn't the only Wesco 4A school to excel at the state meet. Glacier Peak senior Matthew King set two state records with his first-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyles. King, who was named the swimmer of the meet, won the 50 freestyle in 19.81, bettering the record of 20.02 by Newport's Ugur Taner in 1992. King then captured the 100 freestyle in 43.24, breaking the previous record of 43.73 by Taner in 1992. Jackson's Justin Limberg also won the 200 individual medley.

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"There were so many impressive swims today," Erickson said. "It was pretty amazing. Wesco had a great showing."

Skyline captured the team title with 260 points, followed by Curtis (197), Wenatchee (185), Newport (183) and Kamiak (181).

David R Pan

Kamiak's Vlad Gilszmer, Brian Park, Slava Gilszmer and Max Fang receive medals for their first-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay.


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