Chase Bublitz makes his presence known before he even gets into the water.
As one of Kentridge High’s swimming captains, Bublitz wears a dark-green cape with a gold lightning bolt as he strides around the pool deck.
Today, he will take his superhero act to the Class 4A state swimming and diving championships at Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center, where he hopes to win titles in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle. He won both events at the West Central District meet on Feb. 2.
Bublitz, a junior, is no stranger to the state meet. He went the past two years – and won the 50 free and 100 butterfly in 2012. The latter was an All-American consideration time.
“I’m excited to be going back,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite meets.”
He said he decided to swim different events this year in hopes of adding to his cache of titles.
“I’m not just a two-event guy,” he said. “I want to have some diversity in my swims.”
He said he may feel a pang of nostalgia during the 100 butterfly, but ever the pragmatist, he added that it wouldn’t be feasible to swim it anyway because the 100 freestyle is immediately afterward.
“I love the 100 and 200 freestyle so I won’t be missing it too much,” he said.
Bublitz also anticipates Kentridge’s relay teams having a strong showing. He swims on the top-seeded 200-free relay and the 400-free relay, which is ranked third.
“I think we’re going to do really well,” he said. “Last year we got ninth (in the 400) and this year we’ve gone four seconds faster than what we did at state. We’re looking really strong.”
Bublitz began swimming in a summer league at age 4 and joined the Chinook Swim Club when he was 11.
“Pretty much right off the bat I realized I loved it, so it kind of stuck.”
He said that a long practice can be “kind of mind-numbing,” but that he’s always satisfied at the end.
“I say, ‘Wow, I just did that!’ and it feels good.”
Bublitz, who has a 3.8 grade-point average in a course load that includes three advanced placement classes, said he isn’t sure where he wants to attend college, but that he would like to swim for an NCAA Division I program. He has already been contacted by Tennessee, LSU, Northwestern, Duke and Harvard. He plans to study either history or political science and is pondering a career as a foreign adviser.
“It would be pretty cool to tie in history and politics,” he said. “And I enjoy learning about the history and culture of the Middle East.”
But will he wear still wear a cape?
“Yeah,” he said with a laugh. “I just feel it flowing behind me and it’s really cool.”
BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Today and Saturday, King County Aquatic Center, Federal Way
Schedule: Today – 2A preliminaries are from 9:45 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.; 3A preliminaries are from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.; 4A preliminaries are from 6:15 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. Saturday – 2A finals start at 10 a.m.; 3A finals start at 2:30 p.m.; and 4A finals start at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: Daily passes are $9 for adults, $7 for students and senior citizens. Two-day passes are $15 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens.
2012 team champions: 4A – Stadium. 3A – Lakeside of Seattle. 2A – Sehome.
The skinny: Very rarely does a swimmer of Eastlake High junior Edward Kim’s caliber come along. And for a third consecutive season, he will try and take home a pair of Class 4A individual titles – this time in the 100-yard butterfly (top-seeded time of 50.36 seconds) and 50 free (21.18). As a sophomore, he came within a whisker of setting the state record in the 100 backstroke (he went 48.84 to win the 4A final; Wilson’s Evan Martinec has the mark at 48.59, set in 2000). Kim also qualified for last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. Before Stadium won the 4A title in 2012, schools from the Sea-King and WesCo districts had a six-year winning streak. A new one might start this weekend with Kamiak, the 2009 and 2011 4A winner, which comes into the state meet with top marks in four events. Kentridge’s Chase Bublitz won’t be defending either 4A title in the 50 free or 100 butterfly, instead opting to try for wins in the 100 and 200 free. His top mark in the 100 free (46.83) is one second faster than the field. ... A pair of 3A meet records might be in jeopardy – in the 200 individual medley (Kennedy’s Tommy Thach is at 1:51.82; record is 1:50.26, set by Lakeside’s Owen Wurzbacher in 2009) and 1-meter diving (Shorecrest’s Aaron Moss is at 513.85 points; record is 530.53, set by Bellevue’s Jonathan Wilcox in 2004). Mercer Island had its run of six consecutive 3A titles (2006-11) interrupted last season by Lakeside. But the Islanders won the Sea-King District last weekend, with Lakeside placing third. ... 2A was made a separate championship in 2009 – and Sehome has won all four of the state meets. The Mariners’ bid for five in a row will likely get a big challenge from Archbishop Murphy and the Barnard brothers. Alec Barnard has the No. 1 times in the 50 free and 100 butterfly, and Austin is tops in the 500 free and No. 2 in the 200 free. Sehome did beat the Wildcats head-to-head last week in claiming its ninth consecutive district title at Anacortes High School. Steilacoom’s Benjamin Scott holds the top mark in the 100 free (49.17) and is No. 2 in the 100 backstroke (54.52). blog.thenewstribune.com/preps email@example.com