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Curtain call for Kamiak's Gilszmer brothers | Boys swimming

Twins help Knights defeat Jackson in Wesco clash


Last updated 6/2/2021 at 10:49am

In a couple of weeks, senior Vlad Gilszmer will compete in his final race for the Kamiak boys swim team.

But instead of the bright lights of the state championships at the King County Aquatic Center, the meet is scheduled for the Kamiak High School pool.

The two-time defending 4A state 500-yard freestyle champion won't have an opportunity to add a third first-place medal to his collection due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's pretty disappointing," said Gilszmer, who would have been part of the Knights' 200 freestyle relay team that also was looking for a third straight state title.

Gilszmer and twin brother Slava aren't sitting around moping, though. They are continuing to make memories during their senior season and final year together as teammates.

"We've all been swimming hard," Vlad said. "You've got to take each meet individually, just race as fast as you can, and just enjoy the opportunities we have in the meets we have left."

In what likely was its stiffest test of the season, Kamiak pulled out a hard-fought 93.50-85.50 victory over archrival Jackson in a Wesco dual meet Wednesday, May 19, at Kamiak High School.

Vlad finished first in the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 43.16 seconds, and won the 100 backstroke 54.07; both were state qualification times. He also swam on the Knights' winning and state-qualifying 200 and 400 freestyle relay squads.

Slava, who generally swims the longer races, instead pulled out victories in the 50 freestyle (state, 21.70) and the 100 freestyle (state, 47.44).

"I wish we could have gone to state," Slava said. "So the new goal is just to go undefeated for four years, and we won by 8, which was the closest meet that we've had. It was pretty fun."

Kamiak has won 53 straight dual meets dating back to 2017. Slava finished second in the 500 freestyle, behind his brother, at the state meet during his sophomore and junior seasons.

The Gilszmers, along with Max Fang and Brian Park, hold the 4A state record in the 200 freestyle relay (1:25.53). Vlad has the school record in the 200 freestyle (1:40.64) and 500 freestyle (4:30.46). The Gilszmers and Max and Ryan Fang also have the school 400 relay record (3:09.23).

"It's definitely going to be hard not swimming and competing with him," Vlad said of his brother. "But we still have a few meets left."

Both will be continuing their swimming careers in college. Vlad is headed to Cornell University, while Slava plans to attend University of California-San Diego.

"We've been swimming together since we were 10," Slava said. "We've had a lot of meets together."

Kamiak coach Chris Erickson said the Gilszmer continue to excel.

"They're taken it to a whole other level this season," Erickson said. "Their dedication is at another level. ... They're getting to be dominant. It's going to be fun to watch them swim in college. They're going to really take off."

Being a part of a team and helping their teammates is a responsibility the Gilszmers take seriously.

"They're really great with their teammates," Erickson said. "They've been supportive throughout their high school careers."

Both Gilszmers say they really enjoy the team atmosphere at Kamiak.

"We train together. We compete as a team," Slava said. "No matter how fast you are, you are still part of a team."

Vlad appreciates the team energy, especially at practices.

"It's definitely been weird with all the COVID restrictions," he said. "But our guys are getting in the pool and practicing hard. It definitely paid off."

Other Kamiak winners included Oliver Holod (200 individual medley, 500 freestyle) and the 200 medley relay team of Holod, Zach Durocher, Giovanni Baez and Chad Lee.


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