What will be going through the mind of Heights senior Kaitlyn Blattner as she attempts to set the state record time in the 500-yard freestyle this weekend at the Class 5-1A swim meet in Topeka?
Well, it depends on which upbeat pop song her teammates choose to plant in her head before the race. At the league meet, when Blattner won the City League title, it was Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
“I always ask my teammates for a catchy song I can sing in my head the whole time and that was the one they picked,” Blattner said. “Sometimes it can get pretty tough during the race, especially when you’re doing 10 50s at pretty much a sprint, so it’s nice to have something take your mind off it. So we’ll see which song they pick next.”
Blattner, a four-time state champion and defending 5-1A champion in the 200 free and 500 free, wants to complete a four-peat in the 200 free and also break the record in the 500 free.
So it might not matter which song Blattner uses because she is self-motivated to make her final high school state meet a memorable one.
“Honestly, this year has probably been the most fun,” said Blattner, who has signed with Wyoming. “I don’t really have any pressure to find a college, so it’s been a little bit more relaxed. But not too relaxed beacuse I still want to see what my best can do.”
Heights coach Dale Heckman was encouraged by her City League-winning time of 5 minutes, 1.29 seconds, which was four seconds faster than it was a year ago, when Blattner would go on to win the 5-1A title in 4:58.55.
The nine-year-old record is 4:57.91; Blattner has dropped below that time for her club team, but not during the high school season. The next fastest time in 5-1A is 24 seconds behind Blattner’s time, so it’s unlikely she will have a push.
“I think she can do it because she’s just got a beautiful stroke,” Heckman said. “And she has this drive where she wants to get better every single day. She does everything she needs to do to get better, so I think that determination will set her apart.”
Blattner says the key stretch of the race will be in the beginning when she is setting her pace.
“Whatever I do my third or fourth 50, that usually becomes the speed I stay at,” Blattner said. “So I really need to focus on those first few 50s and make sure I get off to a fast start.”
Blattner has won state championships before and now her future is locked up at a Division I program. The only thing left that could add to her sterling resume is a state record.
“I’ve always thought that would be the coolest thing if I got a state record,” Blattner said. “I know I’m so close, so it’s definitely my goal for this year. I know the time that I need to get under and now I’m excited to see how low I can get.”