COOS BAY — After a successful two seasons in the Southwestern Oregon Community College swim program, swimmer James Camp is headed to the next level. Camp, a native of Brisbane, Australia, will be swimming at the NAIA school Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.
“What sort of led me to Southwestern is what’s leading to Morningside. I like the attitude of the coach, she seems like a really nice person, willing to work with me and wanting more from the swimmers. Wanting them to achieve their best,” said Camp in a phone call from Australia on Monday.
“Work hard, all that sort of stuff and also it seems like a very tight-knit group as well, which is also another very important factor of keeping me coming to Southwestern. So with those factors, it made it a pretty good choice to sign there.”
Camp left his mark on the SWOCC program in his time in Coos Bay and has a school record in eight events. He has the fastest individual times in the 50 freestyle (20.22 seconds), 100 freestyle (45.29), 50 butterfly (21.42), 100 butterfly (48.05) and 100 individual medley (50.75).
Camp was also part of the record-breaking 200 freestyle relay (1:24.87), 400 freestyle relay (3:04.35) and the 200 medley relay (1:31.06).
Adding to his list of achievements, earlier this month he took home a national title at the NJCAA Swimming Championships with a win in the 50 butterfly (21.87). It comes a year after he took second in the event by .07 seconds.
“So actually getting first in it this year, I’m very, very happy about it. I’m very excited. This whole season I didn’t do a personal best until Nationals. I mean, I was very happy to do a personal best at Nationals,” said Camp.
“The 50s, they always go so fast. You’re pretty much in the water and it almost feels like you touch the wall already. Because if everything goes right, it goes right and it did for me. It just feels like a breeze almost. Like wow, I just won. What?”
For SWOCC head coach Sandra Bullock, Camp signing at Morningside is a sign of a healthy swim program.
“Ultimately, that’s our goal. To bring them here, give them an opportunity, get their name out there, get them visible and then they move on to a four-year program,” said Bullock.
“He found that program all on his own. He had lots of offers, opportunities. He wanted to study chemistry so he was specifically looking for a program that would fit with his academics ... and also the coaching would be comparable and he could study chemistry.”
Instead of staying around until the end of the school year, Camp hopped on the 15-hour flight and went back home to Australia. This was because SWOCC will be completing all courses online throughout spring term due to the coronavirus.
But Camp would have loved to be able to finish the school year in Coos Bay.
“It’s just been such a great time and great community,” said Camp of his time at SWOCC.