FEDERAL WAY – Eastlake’s Edward Kim cruised through his preliminary heats at the 4A boys swim meet on Friday morning at the King County Aquatics Center. Still, Kim wasn’t challenged in posting the top qualifying times in the 100 and 200 freestyles entering Saturday morning’s finals.
“I’m actually pretty excited to see what I can do,” said Kim, who is now two swims away from becoming only the second boy in state history to win eight individual state titles. “I felt really good after both races. I’ve got a lot left.”
Federal Way’s Thomas Anderson and Kentridge’s Chase Bublitz bolted. The West Central District pair, the top two seeds in the 50 free, threw up huge prelim swims to win their respective heats.
Bublitz got things started by posting a 20.79 to win Heat 2. Anderson followed in Heat 3 with a 20.55.
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Both swims were far under the district qualifying swims for each, and both were automatic all-America times. How much the pair have left for the championship final showdown remains to be seen.
“I’ve always been a finals swimmer,” said Bublitz, a senior who is trying to win his fifth and sixth individual career titles at this meet. “I like the big stage. I haven’t shaved yet, and this isn’t my best suit.”
Translation: Bublitz knows he has more in him. Whether it’s enough to beat the upstart Eagles sophomore is the question.
“He’s the top seed in there, so he has a little bit of a target on his back,” Bublitz said. “I’m excited about that race, to see what I can do.”
Bublitz also is the top seed for the 100 butterfly at 49.76 seconds. That event, also, should go faster in the finals.
The 50 free and 100 fly are essentially run back-to-back during the preliminary round, with just a 15-minute break in between. It’s a tough double.
“I was hurting a little bit at the end there (of the fly),” Bublitz said. “In the finals, we’ll have the entire dive break, which is 30-35 minutes, to rest.”
Kim’s prelim times, 1:40.81 in the 200 and 45.60 in the 100, both were all-America consideration splits. But the indicators were there for much faster times to come for Kim.
His start time in the 200 was .59 of a second, a full tenth ahead of anyone else in the field. And he went 48.79 over the first 100 before cruising home in just under 1:00 over the final 100.
In the 100 free, Kim went out over the first 50 yards in 21.55 seconds.
Those performances put two hallowed state records squarely within reach for Kim. U.S. gold medalist Nathan Adrian’s 1:37.17 from 2006 in the 200 could fall. Turkish Olympian Ugur Taner’s mark of 43.73 in the 100 – a record that has stood since 1992 – also could fall.
“I was looking at those,” Kim admitted.
But the records weren’t the reason he chose these events to complete his high school career. The 100 is the event for which Kim qualified for the Olympic trials.
And the 200?
“These two events appeal to me,” Kim said. “In my last high school meet, why not try my best events.”
Kim does not expect to be two and three seconds ahead of the field during the finals, either, which should help the times.
“Tomorrow morning, everyone steps up for the finals,” Kim said. “This competitive atmosphere, it drives you. I’m finally trying to get into that competitive groove. You train so hard all season. It’s at these taper meets where you see the fruits of your efforts.”
Newport and Issaquah positioned themselves for a showdown for the team title. The Knights advanced all three relays to the championship finals. The Eagles have the top prelim time in two relays, but will swim the consolation final in the 400 free relay. And each school put five individual swimmers in championship heat finals. …
Curtis senior Brian Woodbury laid down an automatic all-America time of 49.70 in the 100 back, and an all-American consideration time of 52.36 in the 200 individual medley.