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Back(ward) in action

Kelso's Grant Eastham starts the backstroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay race at Gaither Pool. The Scotties' relay team finished sixth. For full coverage of Saturday's Kelso Invitational, please see C2. 

Sam Rosado and Jacob Redmill have a few things in common. Rarely will the similarities shine more than when they’re in the pool.

The two Kelso swimmers began the sport for fitness reasons, and the pair will also begin adulthood in the armed forces. Redmill will enter the United States Marine Corps after graduating, his occupational specialty being reconnaissance. Rosado has sworn in as a soldier in the Army, and will be a combat engineer.

The two also competed at the Kelso Invitational at Gaither Pool on Saturday, along with swimmers from Mark Morris and R.A. Long.

“There was just something about the intensity of it,” Redmill said. “I felt like I needed to do something, and if I was going to, I felt like it needed to be the most intense.”

That’s what led Redmill to join the Marines after looking into different branches of the military. For Rosado, joining one of the services was an interest since he was about 8 years old. He liked the Marines as well, but after looking at the full spectrum, he decided the Army would be a better fit.

“I just knew that I wanted to join the Army,” Rosado said. “I’ve always been mechanically inclined and wanted to be active duty. I didn’t want to sit behind a desk or in a barracks. I wanted to be out, and wanted to be with everyone else.”

The combat engineer specialty felt tailor-made to Rosado, and he signed the dotted line in November.

What led them to the pool, though, was a different set of circumstance.

Redmill had struggled with weight prior to high school, and swimming was something he knew would help him discover a leaner frame.

“I was like 240 pounds and swimming burns a lot of calories,” Redmill said. “Now, just being with the guys on the team, I just fell in love with the sport.”

Redmill’s current physique represents a significant transformation, and his muscular frame helped him to a 23.81 50-yard freestyle time Saturday. He also finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle (52.97) and placed fifth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:38.17).

Redmill has also developed a social circle in swimming, his two best friends are on the team and played a role in sticking with the sport. Swimming was a part of his life from a young age, though, and he’s always loved it as recreation. With cutting weight and refining skills, he’s now one of Kelso’s top swimmers.

While Redmill’s favorite event was the 500-yard freestyle, Rosado enjoys the rush of sprinting.

“I like being fast,” said Rosado, noting that boxing is another high-intensity sport he’s enjoyed throughout his life.

As for the rest of the swim season and his future in the military?

“It’s hard work for the both of them,” Rosado said, “but they’re both worth it.”


Monarchs coach Richard Carr has played with rotations in the relay teams over past seasons.

Not this year, as swimmers stood out as the group made it easy for him to pick who’d be on the 200 freestyle squad.

“Usually there’s two guys who you know will be on it, and then you rotate in two different guys here and there,” Carr said. “This year it was abundantly clear who the swimmers were.”

So Andrew MacDonnell, Samuel Mendez, Ryan Pospichal, and Kodee Soetamin have represented the 200-yard freestyle team for the Monarchs this season. Soetamin had a solid season last year, which got him to state, and this year Pospichal — teammates call him “Popsicle” — has been dominant in the water.

Carr has high hopes for the group as it nears time for districts.

“We’re really close to state-qualifying times,” Carr said.


Kelso’s Grant Eastham (2:14.69) finished fourth in the 200-yard medley, Monarch Kodee Soetamin (23.03) finished fifth in the 50-yard freestyle, and teammate Andrew MacDonnell (5:36.10) was fourth in the 500-yard freestyle. Kelso saw the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Rosado, Redmill, Brenden Kazensky and Grant Eastham finish fifth 5th (1:38.17), while the Hilander 200-yard medley team of Eastham, Spencer Thomas, Jacob Lease, and Rosado finished sixth (1:51.88). The R.A. Long 200-yard medley team of Zachary Hayes, Matthew Murray, Brandon Wright, and Hunter Worel finished with a time of 2:14.24.

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Sports Reporter

Jason is a journeyman sports reporter who has covered the Golden State Warriors, Oakland A's, along with a heavy emphasis on the Oakland Raiders. He comes to Cowlitz County from Oakland, Calif. and is a loving father.

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