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Chargers' Bublitz looks to shine again at state swim meet
When he was 4 years old, Kentridge High senior Chase Bublitz started swimming at the Fairwood Country Club along with his sister.
As the years progressed, he followed in her footsteps. He swam in his first "A team" swim meet when he was 7, and hasn't looked back.
Now Bublitz has risen to become one of the best high school swimmers in Washington and his achievement has earned him a full-ride scholarship to the University of Minnesota. But he doesn't let the recognition go to his head and remains dedicated to the sport.
"A part of it is because I'm good at it, but when you look at plenty of kids they'll have the talent but they'll drop out," he says. "It makes me happy, it's what I love to do."
While Bublitz acknowledges the talent he's developed as a swimmer contributes to his success, he says his dedication comes from the way swimming calms him. At the end of a rough week, swimming is one of his favorite ways to relax.
"It's just kind of my time, where I can focus," he says. "I can focus on my stroke, am I hitting the water, am I rotating enough. I can think about the day and just think about that. No one can interrupt me, I can't talk to anyone and no one can talk to me."
While the years have put some inches — and scraggly sideburns on Bublitz — they haven't changed his quiet and friendly attitude. Bublitz remains humble and personable to his friends and teammates.
"You expect someone with great skill to be really cocky, and show all their skills and stuff," says fellow swimmer Ryan Tsing, who views Bublitz as a mentor, "but Chase is the opposite, he's really a team player."
Dedication to his teammates has been Bublitz's watchword, and it was a trademark of his role model, Cameron Whiting, who now swims at the Claremont McKenna College in Southern California. Whiting was a senior when Bublitz entered high school, and immediately made an impression on him.
"I'd always looked up to him, because he had a really good work ethic, always looked for ways to improve himself, so I'd strive to be like that, so he's kind of the type of person that I want to be, he has a lot of enthusiasm."
Bublitz says that Whiting taught him less about swimming and more about inner character, and he learned about the importance of looking out for newcomers to the team.
"As he has grown up, I have seen him giving a positive attitude to everyone, having fun with anybody on the team no matter who they are, and having the greatest respect to every swimmer on the team," says Kentridge coach Michael Dobner. "He wants to show how much he cares for all the other swimmers."
His popularity made him a natural candidate for captain, and has contributed to his scholarship at Minnesota, where he plans to study social science. It's the one subject that's managed to hold his interest.
"I've always found history really exciting, no other subject has gripped me where I thoroughly enjoyed the content," he says. "But I always enjoy learning about history and stuff."
While Bublitz is looking forward to what he'll learn in college, he says it will probably be ancillary to his swimming training.
"It's a passion, but it's in my free time."
While his titles last year in the 100-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle has given him some much deserved confidence, he doesn't let it go to his head. Instead it's one more reason to jump back and keep training as he prepares for the state championships Feb. 21-22 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
"When you look at it, I'm second, I'm not first," he says with a serious but excited look. "There's always going to be someone better than me, so it just gives you the drive to work harder and get faster."