Adrian not done ‘Oooh’-ing, ‘Aaah’-ing crowds

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian responds not only to a friend calling his name from the stands, but also to his state-record swim in the 200-yard freestyle (1:37:17), the first of two state titles for Adrian this year. - Photo by Jesse Beals/file photo
Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian responds not only to a friend calling his name from the stands, but also to his state-record swim in the 200-yard freestyle (1:37:17), the first of two state titles for Adrian this year.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals/file photo

An athlete who has made the nation pay attention to his talent is the clear choice for the Bremerton Patriot 2006 Student-Athlete of the Year for Bremerton High School.

Nathan Adrian, a senior swimmer, made headlines across the state when he broke the 200-yard freestyle record for Washington at the state swimming championships Feb. 18 at the King County Aquatic Center. The previous record belonged to Turkish Olympian Ugur Taner, swimming for Newport High School of Bellevue in 1991.

Adrian also won the state title in the 100 freestyle and drew “oohs” and awe from the crowd in Federal Way, performing like a man among boys, seconds ahead of his competition.

There have been whispers that Adrian is the most promising male swimmer his age in the United States. He will step into the spotlight next year as a member of the University of California-Berkeley team, a traditionally strong program in the Pac-10 and NCAA.

They don’t take studying lightly at Berkeley, one of the best public universities in the country, and Adrian seems to be ready for the task.

He said he chose the school “one, for the education aspect, to make the best of it and ... two, the swim program is great, especially for sprinters which is what I am.

“Having it around San Francisco is cool, too. Seattle and San Francisco are such similar cities, it feels like home. Having the water around is definitely a plus.”

Adrian just feels natural around the water, as well he should.

He had his choice of where he would swim collegiately, with his athletic accomplishments and a 3.79 GPA entering his final semester of high school. He chose the Golden Bears over Texas, Auburn and Arizona.

Beginning the recruiting process last summer, he had planned ahead in the classroom, taking his toughest classes, like AP biology, chemistry and physics, as a junior to take some of the pressure off in his senior year.

“I tried to get as many hard classes out of the way as possible last year,” he said. “This year, I tried to take it easy knowing how (hectic) it would be.”

He returned to the pool as a Knight after two years of purely club training after swimming for BHS his freshman year to have that experience in his background. Adrian said it is a common practice for elite swimmers to take that route.

“If I didn’t take those years off, I didn’t know if I’d get that state record,” he said.

Adrian feels he has been blessed with excellent support along the way.

“My family’s been supportive but not pushy, a key thing to anyone not burning out,” he said. “My coach definitely got me to where I am today. Friends at the swim program are like a big family. It all works together like a big harmony.”

Adrian said he has yet to decide on a major at Cal, but is thinking “something along the lines of business, maybe pre-med” because of his interest in biology, chemistry and math.”

As for his swimming future, he feels it may be too early to be talking Olympics but “of course, you want to set your goals as high as possible. The national team selection meet is in August. I try to take it one step at a time.”

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