Between club and high school swimming practices and meets this year, Federal Way High sophomore Thomas Anderson was spending about five hours a day, five days a week in the pool.
That kind of commitment over the course of two more years can take a toll on a young swimmer — and that has Anderson pondering his high school swimming future.
But even with his future in limbo, Anderson put on a show Saturday morning at the Class 4A boys state swimming and diving championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, taking home state titles in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke events.
“(Saturday’s performance gives me) something to think about,” said Anderson, who was also voted 4A swimmer of the meet. “It doesn’t change my views. I have quite a few big goals in the next few years I want to achieve. If I can juggle those goals with high school swimming, then I’ll do it.”
Anderson finished the 50 free in 20.19 seconds, 0.4 faster than Kentridge senior Chase Bublitz. Both swimmers clocked automatic All-America times, and Anderson’s is the third fastest in Washington state history.
“I really needed to nail that turn, and I feel like I did that,” he said.
The sophomore then set a meet record in the 100 backstoke with a time of 48.10 (automatic All-America), ending Curtis senior Brian Woodbury’s chance at a second state title.
“This record was unexpected, and I’m incredibly happy for it,” Anderson said.
Woodbury clocked in at 49.33 (automatic All-America) and was grateful in defeat.
“(Anderson’s) faster off the wall,” Woodbury said. “It’s something I’ve been working on a lot. I guess he has, too.”
Woodbury didn’t go home empty-handed — the Georgia Tech-bound senior won the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:50.31 (automatic All-America).
Eastlake High’s Edward Kim became just the second swimmer in state history to win eight individual state titles in a career by capturing the 100 free (43.90, automatic All-America) and 200 free (1:37.42, automatic All-America) events.
After losing the 50 free to Anderson, Kentridge’s Bublitz came back and swam a 48.80 in the 100 butterfly, the second fastest all-time state finish.
Newport of Bellevue took home the team title, racking up 215.5 points. Issaquah (171) was second, while Gig Harbor and Kentridge tied for third. Federal Way (129) was fifth.