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A two event finalist at the Arizona High School state championships last fall, Kate Bluford has announced her college decision for 2023, electing to head to Pulham, Washington to join Washington State University. Bluford is entering her senior year at Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Arizona and swims club with the Scottsdale Aquatic Club.
Bluford finished her junior year of high school by competing at the AIA Division I Swimming and Diving State Championships. She competed in a pair of individual events, the 50 free and 100 back. In the 50, she earned a spot in the B-final, ultimately taking 10th in a best time of 24.53. Her biggest swim of the meet came in the 100 back, where she earned the bronze medal in a time of 56.60. That swim was nearly a second faster than her time from the same meet a year earlier, when she took 5th in the event.
She was also a finalist in both backstroke events this spring at the Arizona Senior Championships. Her highest finish came in the 200 back, where she grabbed fourth place in a time of 2:03.58. She also claimed first in the B-final of the 100 back in a time of 56.71. Had she been in the A-final, she would have finished second behind only Arizona State University alumni Chloe Isleta.
Top SCY Times
- 100 back – 56.06
- 200 back – 2:00.98
- 50 free – 24.42
- 100 free – 53.72
- 200 free – 1:54.27
The Washington State women finished 8th out of 8 teams at the 2022 Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships. The backstroke events were an area of weakness for the Cougars, with Taylor McCoy’s 18th place in the 200 back being the only points scored across the two events for the team.
Even as a rising high school senior, Bluford already has times in the backstroke events that put her close to being within scoring range at the Pac-12 Championships. In 2022, it took 55.45/1:58.60 to earn a second swim.
While the Pac-12 will look the same during Bluford’s freshman year as it does now, her final three years with the program will feature a drastically different conference. Last month, the Big-10 announced that that both USC and UCLA had been approved to become members of the conference beginning with the 2024-2025 school year. Last year, those two programs finished third and fourth at the Pac-12 Championships, respectively.
The Cougars just graduated one of their most successful swimmers in program history, Chloe Larson. Larson qualified to compete at the NCAA Championships on two occasions, making her just the fourth swimmer in program history to qualify for the meet. In 2021, she became the first woman in school history to win a Pac-12 title when she claimed the top spot in the 50 free.
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