Iron Man Brandon Anderson dedicated to swimming

Brandon Anderson is the first male at North Kitsap High School to qualify for every state swim event

POULSBO — While other high school athletes have been swimming for close to a decade, North Kitsap High School junior Brandon Anderson didn’t start “really competing” until a couple years ago.

“I went through this stage in middle school where I didn’t like the meets, but I’ve always loved the water,” he said.

Athleticism, dedication and leadership can go a long way for high school athletes like Anderson. He is the first-ever male at North Kitsap to qualify for every state swimming event, making him an Ironman — a goal of his since the start of the school year.

“It wasn’t an expectation,” Anderson said. “At the beginning of the season, I was like, ‘I’m going to try and Ironman this year. If it doesn’t happen, then I’ll get as close as I can and, next year, I’ll go for Ironman.’”

A lot of practice — sometimes 12 hours per day, according to his parents Anne and Brent — led to his name being inked in school records.

“It seems like time stands still when he’s swimming,” his parents wrote in an email to Kitsap News Group. “And this year, he has extended his focus to conditioning and eating well. He has been very intentional in creating a healthy balance to achieve his goals.”

North Kitsap head swim coach Greg Braun said it’s a welcoming sight to watch Anderson grow into his Ironman status, but Braun said his athlete has far more potential. “He hasn’t developed physically yet,” but he has matured into a leader for the team, he said.

The oldest of four boys, Brandon is a “quiet natural leader,” his parents wrote. Anne and Brent told a story they remember from over a decade ago that speaks to their son’s character.

Brandon and his next younger brother were playing on a play set when they were 4 and 2, respectively. But Brandon’s brother was having trouble climbing the steps of the play set.

“Brandon figured out that if he sat on his hands and knees in front of the step, then his brother could climb over him and get up the step,” Anne and Brent wrote. “Brandon would help his brother up the first step, climb to the second and help his brother again and again all the way to the top … he is all heart and wants to make sure others are also successful.”

This type of leadership has carried over to his high school swim team. Swimming is a difficult team sport because the athletes are submerged under water and have little time to socialize, Braun said. So, he incorporated “Workshop Wednesday,” which allows athletes time to talk about how they can improve.

Advanced athletes like Brandon are taking ownership by helping other swimmers to improve their skills, Braun said.

“I can see him getting into a college program if he keeps going the way he is,” he said. “He’ll be a pretty good asset to a lot of different teams.”

When asked if Brandon has thought about college, his eyes widened.

“I have a long way to go, but I’ve started that process of thinking [about] where I want to go,” he admitted. “I still have a lot of options and things to think about.”

One thing is for sure; the junior isn’t just looking for a good collegiate swim program, he’s looking for a good engineering program as well. Brandon is a student in Eric Nieland’s career and technical education course at North Kitsap and finds enjoyment in “taking things apart and putting them back together.”

His parents seconded his passion for engineering, specifying that he often goes out to the garage and makes “rocket stoves.”

For the time being, the high schooler is focused on the state championship; the state meet begins Feb. 16. He’s most looking forward to the 100-yard butterfly. Last year, he finished 14th in state in that event. His performance is something he takes seriously, but Brandon doesn’t get down on himself if he feels he didn’t meet a standard.

“There’s been a number of kids over the years that have been really resilient,” Braun said. “Some kids — they have a bad swim or a bad meet and that’s it, they’re done for the day. And I’ve had some kids that have done not so well at a big meet, and they move forward. That’s the difference right there.”

The junior swimmer isn’t the type of person to dwell on failure. Instead, he’s someone that continues to progress forward with a positive mindset. No matter how he fares in the state tournament this season, his parents are proud of how dedicated and determined he is in pursuing his passions.

“[We] truly believe the sky is the limit for Brandon,” his parents wrote. “His determination, dedication and hard work is paying off — which we think is the ultimate measure of success.”

— Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at

Iron Man Brandon Anderson dedicated to swimming