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Originally published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8:02 PM

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Kennedy's Maudslien swimming with the big fish

After getting his feet wet in the Olympic trials, the Kennedy Catholic senior will try to finish his high-school career with more state titles this weekend.

Special to The Seattle Times

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Thane Maudslien is getting used to rubbing shoulders with elite swimmers.

He literally almost did at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb., in June, when he had a close encounter with Michael Phelps.

"It was in the warm-down pool. He was right there next to me," Maudslien said.

Star struck? Not really. It's all part of the territory for Maudslien.

The Kennedy Catholic High School senior is already well traveled. Not only did he qualify for the Olympic trials last summer, he's competed at junior nationals three times, finishing second in the 200-meter freestyle (1 minute, 51.34 seconds) in Indianapolis in August.

He will be the top senior at the state boys swimming championships this weekend at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. He'll go for his fourth consecutive Class 3A 100-yard butterfly title and also looks to win the 100 backstroke.

He hopes to add to his cache of five individual state championships.

"It really hasn't sunk in yet," said Maudslien (pronounced MOD-zleen). "With this door closing, another one opens. I'm going to swim for the University of Arizona next year. I'm really excited for that."

Maudslien was named 3A swimmer of the meet last year after winning the 100 fly (49.89) and 200 free (1:38.79) and swimming on the Lancers' victorious 200 medley relay. Kennedy Catholic finished fifth in the team race.

Defending team champion Lakeside is expected to battle Mercer Island and Bellevue this year, though Maudslien expects the Lancers to have a say. Lancers sophomore Tommy Thach is the top seed in the 200 individual medley and 100 free, and diver Brian Donohue is seeded second.

"We'll be up there playing with the big boys," Maudslien said.

Maudslien, who was joined at the Olympic trials by Bellevue junior Edward Kim, placed 87th in the 200 free (1:53.04). But at 17 he got a chance to perform on a grand stage with some of swimming's biggest icons.

"It was unusual for him to go to the trials as a junior in high school," said his father, Kris Maudslien. "It was a success. He made it. He knows what it takes to make it. He got there. He got in a heat, swimming with 25-year-olds. He didn't false-start. A lot of good things happened.

"He would be a junior in college the next time to make an Olympic run. That will be a little more realistic for the potential of making the Olympic team."

But first, he has work to do this weekend. The idea of a fourth state butterfly title is on his mind.

"I feel that would put my stamp on high-school swimming," he said.

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