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Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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High School Sports

Flashback: Mary Wayte Bradburne, Mercer Island, Class of 1983

Sport: Swimming

High-school rewind: Won eight state titles in five different events despite shoulder problems.

After high school: Two-time Olympian won a pair of gold medals in Los Angeles in 1984 (200-meter freestyle and 400 free relay), and added a silver (400 medley relay) and a bronze (400 free relay) in Seoul in 1988. A 26-time All-American at Florida, she won eight NCAA titles.

After athletics: Worked briefly for the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Joined NBC as a color commentator for swimming during 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Worked in public relations, then co-founded a PR firm in 2001. Quit work last month to become a stay-at-home mom.

Personal: Bradburne, 38, and her husband Jim, an executive vice president of a biotech firm, were married in 1996. They have two daughters, Jordan, 2½, and Audrey, 1, and reside in Redwood City, Calif.

Fast forward: It is not the records or the medals or the awards she remembers. Rather, it is a feeling.

Mary Wayte Bradburne recalls it vividly, as if it were only yesterday that she stood behind the blocks in Los Angeles, about to surprise the world by winning gold in the 200 freestyle.

"It was like being in a state of grace, where it felt as though God wrapped himself around me," she said. "It was as if I was in the most calm place in this world."

Bradburne hardly remembers the race — a journal she kept during the '84 Games offers no help, either, since the only day she missed was the day she won — but the memory of that all-encompassing calm lingers.

"It's the most amazing feeling I've ever felt," she said.

Today, the Mercer Island pool she once trained in bears her name.

— Matt Peterson

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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