YFD Senior Spotlight: 12 Questions w/ Melanie Victor

1) How long have you been on YFD?

I have been on YFD for 10 years.


2) Why did you choose the school you will attend next year?

When applying to college I knew that I wanted a school that offered tremendous academic opportunities, lots of school spirit, and an amazing and involved community. Cornell really has everything I am looking for. It offers so many different areas of study and has tremendous research opportunities. I’m also excited to participate in the numerous activities outside of the classroom, including the club swim team. Also, I am pretty sure that I will be able to pass the mandatory physical education swim test!


3) Do you know what you want to study? If so, what?

I plan on majoring in psychology with a minor in human development or maybe cellular biology. 


4) What is your favorite memory of being on YFD?

My favorite memory of being on YFD was making finals in the 100 breast at the Rutgers swim meet in 2017. I was in my hotel room and had just woken up from a nap and had an email from Coach Ben saying that I had made finals. It was the first time I had made a final since starting my swim career as an 8 year old belly flopper, and I was so excited about how far I had come. I swam the final that night and dropped time from my prelim! I have a video of the race and I can see Amine and Ben cheering me on from the side and it always brings a smile to my face.


5)  What is the hardest set you can remember doing?

The hardest set I can remember doing is the 40x50s prime pace. Although it is broken down by rounds and goes by fairly quickly, this set is always the toughest on the mind. Because they are all pace, I need to constantly push myself to make my time. During this set I force myself to feel the water and determine if I am swimming at the right speed. This set is challenging because it can be hard to decipher your pace. 


6) What is your favorite Amine story?

My favorite Amine story was when I swam the 100 breaststroke at my first MIT meet in December 2016. Going into the meet I did not set high expectations for myself because I had only qualified for the 50 free and I knew I would be racing against swimmers who were faster than me. As I dove off the block I knew that this race felt different. After completing the race I looked up at the clock and saw that I had dropped six seconds off my time! As I looked to the end of the lane I saw Amine waving his arms and smiling. I will always remember this moment because it made me so happy to see Amine’s reaction.


7) If you could go back in time and tell yourself something as a younger swimmer, what would it be?

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to enjoy every moment with my fellow swimmers. Some of the major highlights from my swimming career consist of singing in van rides, group breakfasts after Saturday morning practices, and overall enjoying the company of my teammates. We are all here to push ourselves physically and mentally but what we do not realize is that our universal experience as swimmers has brought us closer than we ever predicted. When I look back on my swimming career I will always remember my races but more importantly I will remember the friendships I made. 


8) How did you balance academics and being a competitive swimmer?

It’s hard to balance academics and my swimming but I tried my best to utilize my time wisely. During school I would do work during my free periods or lunch. There were definitely some times during my swim career when I would skip practice because of homework but I always regretted doing that because swimming actually helped me focus more on my work. One of the best skills I took away from learning to balance academics and swimming was learning self discipline because time management does not come easy.


9) What is your favorite pre-meet meal

My favorite pre-meet meal is chocolate chip pancakes. 


10) What is your favorite event and why?

My favorite event is the 200 IM because I like how the race allows for all the strokes to be utilized. Even though I am a stronger swimmer in the breaststroke and freestyle, I always enjoy swimming the entire race. If I fall behind other swimmers during the first 100, I love making my comeback in the second half of the race.


11) What is your proudest accomplishment to date?

My proudest accomplishment to date is never giving up swimming even when I suffered from two major injuries. During my sophomore and junior years of high school I began the season with stress fractures and it took a lot of motivation to jump back into the pool.  


12) Do you have any advice for the younger swimmers on the team who might want to swim collegiately?

My advice for younger swimmers who want to swim collegiately would be to never give up, even when faced with adversity. Swimming is not an easy sport and it requires a lot of dedication and patience. I know I have felt at times that I wanted to stop but I am forever grateful that I never gave up. Even though I am not swimming competitively for college, I know that I will incorporate swimming in my college career.