FEDERAL WAY – Saturday morning’s finals session for the 4A boys state swim meet turned historic.
There was the unmistakable smile that Eastlake’s Edward Kim finally allowed himself after he cemented his position among the state’s all-time elite high school swimmers.
Then there were those Newport Knights, who’d watched for the last two years as their girls team had won the state team title. Until Saturday, the Newport boys never had accomplished the feat.
That changed with the Knights 215.5-171 victory over runner-up Issaquah. Newport wrapped up its first boys team title before the final event – the 400-yard freestyle relay in which the Knights finished third.
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“It definitely was an effort among all parties as a team,” Newport senior captain James Campbell said. “We’ve got it now. And we got both of them this year, which is definitely good for the school. That doesn’t happen very often.”
Newport won the title without winning a single individual event.
“I’m very proud of the boys,” Knights coach Eric Bartleson said. “They had this goal last year at the end of the season. Issaquah is a great challenge for us to constantly go up against. Without them pushing us, we weren’t going to be up there.”
Two meet records, an event record and an overall state record fell.
Federal Way sophomore Thomas Anderson won the 50 free, then ripped up the 100 back in a meet and overall state record time of 48.10 seconds. He beat out Kim for swimmer of the meet honors.
The Issaquah 200 medley relay team lowered the 4A meet record from 1:36.12 to 1:35.91.
Kim’s victories in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles were his seventh and eighth overall, making him only the second boy in Washington ever to accomplish the feat. Eastside Catholic’s Ethan Hallowell won eight individual titles from 2008-2011.
Hallowell’s senior year corresponded to Kim’s freshman season.
“I was watching him and thinking like, ‘Wow,’” Kim said of his mindset three years ago. “It must be pretty cool to do that.”
As a freshman, though, Kim admitted he didn’t see such an accomplishment for himself.
“But I love proving myself wrong,” Kim said.
Kim did that.
In the process this season, Kim took aim at two other greats — U.S. gold medalist Nathan Adrian’s 1:37.17 from 2006 for Bremerton in the 200 and Turkish Olympian Ugur Taner’s mark of 43.73 for Newport in the 100 — a record that has stood since 1992.
In the second event of the day, with the crowd urging him on because he was more than 40 yards ahead of the field, Kim came within .25 of a second of Adrian with an automatic all-America time of 1:37.42.
“I heard everything on that last 50,” the Harvard-bound Kim said. “As I took a breath, I could hear everybody. It really helped me coming home.”
While he didn’t break Adrian’s record in the 200, Kim did surpass Adrian later in the 100. While it wasn’t a state or meet record, Kim’s 43.90 in the 100 was the fastest swim ever in the actual event.
Taner’s record came during the first leg of the 400 free relay. Adrian had swum a 44.08 in the actual 100 to win the event in 2006. Kim was not going to be disappointed by not reaching the records, however.
He did step into history, after all.
“It’s so surreal,” Kim said. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m actually really happy. But it’s not over. Now I just have to set new goals for myself.”
To that end, Kim said he will meet with his club coach tomorrow and begin looking forward. First up is the Senior Sectionals meet in March, so there is no time to celebrate.
“There are no days off,” Kim said.
• The last time Kentridge senior Chase Bublitz lost a district title race, as a freshman, he came back to beat that foe at state. On Saturday, Bublitz faced off against Anderson in the final of the 50 free – after Anderson beat Bublitz at districts. This time, Anderson prevailed with the third-fastest time in Washington history, 20.19 seconds. Bublitz swam a 20.59. Both were automatic all-America times.
• Curtis senior Brian Woodbury swam the third fastest time ever in Washington, lowering his personal best in the 200 IM from 1:52.2 to 1:50.31, and coming within a second of the 4A meet record of 1:49.30 set in 1988 by Andy Lloyd of Mercer Island.
• Richland coach Kathy Piper was named 4A coach of the year.