Bellevue’s Williams ready for final lap in prep pool

The standout swimmer talked with the Reporter about her prep career, the junior national meet and her future in the Pac-12.

Kim Williams has been nothing short of sensational during her career in the pool for Bellevue High School.

After spending her first two years of high school at Bellevue Christian, Williams transferred to Bellevue High for her junior year and will also spend her final year of high school there. Also a member of the renowned Bellevue Club Swim Team, Williams enters her final season for the Wolverines as a captain of the squad, and owner of five individual state titles.

She upped the ante again recently at the USA Swimming Junior National Championships in Irvine, Calif., winning the 200 and 400 individual medley races among a field of the nation’s top female junior competitors.

Williams took some time to chat with the Reporter from SoCal, talking about the junior national wins, her hopes for the final season at Bellevue and the transition from small private school to Wolverine Way.

BELLEVUE REPORTER: What was it like to win two events at Junior Nationals, beating out a field of the nation’s top swimmers?

KIM WILLIAMS: I’m still kind of amazed. I wasn’t really expecting to win. I’ve definitely been working towards that. My coaches said it has been a long time coming. I’ve never thought it could actually happen.

It just kind of takes my breath away. All my hard work has paid off and it is really exciting. I don’t know if satisfying is the right word. But all that work for months and months, you’re being rewarded for it.

REPORTER: With a full high school schedule, morning workouts for the Bellevue Club team and the commitment of the prep team, why did you choose to stick with high school swimming?

WILLIAMS: It’s been pretty crazy. I like the rigor of the schedule, with an intense class schedule and having workouts sometimes twice a day. Being a teenager during the summer, most people would think it is consumed by swimming, and it is.

Sometimes I wish I could be a normal kid and do what normal kids do, instead of practice, nap and practice. But it is really rare when I’d say I don’t want to do it. I would probably be bored.

I love going to practice and training as hard as I can. It is tiring but you feel so good after completing a tough workout. You could be training all season and the end of the season may not be what you want.

That has happened several times. This meet was finally one where everything I trained for all season did pay off. The training schedule is pretty tough, but it keeps me busy and with all my friends at practice.

I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. A lot of people wouldn’t understand that.

REPORTER: Why did you decide to make the switch from BCS to Bellevue, and what has that change been like?

WILLIAMS: It was big. We kind of decided last minute, in August last year, to move from BCS to Bellevue. Just in terms of prepping me for college, I think BHS education will do a better job of that just because they offer more AP classes. I’m looking at some bigger universities, so I wouldn’t want to come out of a 400 person school.

I’m looking at pretty much all the warm weather Pac-12 schools: Stanford, Cal, UCLA, USC, Arizona, not in that order.

I’d like to swim outside. I have watched the Pac-10 championships in Federal Way and always wanted to compete there and with a big team like that and help contribute to a winning team.

REPORTER: When we talked three years ago, you weren’t sure how long you would stick with high school swimming. What made you stick with it, to the point of being a captain and going for your sixth and seventh state titles?

WILLIAMS: I started as a freshman and was just planning on doing my first two years, and then focus on club swimming. I thought it would be fun for a few years but I would have to focus on school and club.

I stuck with it the whole way because it is so different, just in terms of the team aspect. I just really like how it is for your school. Moving to Bellevue, it is definitely different representing the school you attend. I like that a lot, too.

You’re competing for your school and surrounded by girls where not everyone is doing club swimming, but they all love it so much.  It is fun to see it no matter what level it is at.

It’s so team oriented, and so much fun. I’m kind of at a loss for words. It’s special.

REPORTER: What are your hopes for the high school season?

WILLIAMS: First and foremost, we have a really strong group of captains and had a lot of meetings and set up a pretty exciting season in terms of team bonding and getting everyone in the spirit.

We got second in the 200 medley relay at state and everyone is back from that relay team, so hopefully, we can win it.