YFD Senior Spotlight: 12 Questions with Eliza Knapp

YFD Senior Spotlight: 12 Questions with Eliza Knapp


1) How long have you been on YFD?
A year and a half.

2) Why did you choose the school you will attend next year?
I have chosen to attend Harvard because I want to go to a school where everyone is both interested in vastly different fields and wants to learn about what their peers are studying. I love the vibe of the campus, the traditions I’ve learned about, and the wide variety of activities and clubs. The school also provides a great opportunity to keep learning about math with people who also enjoy it :).

3) Do you know what you want to study? If so, what?
I’m not totally sure yet, but I think I’m going to major in Applied Math with Computer Science and maybe economics.

4) What is your favorite memory of being on YFD?
Last year, one of the swim meets was on my birthday and after I finished the 200 free, my friends turned off the lights and sang happy birthday to me while I was exhausted in the water. After the meet, everyone brought food and we had a dance party in the locker room.

5) What is the hardest set you can remember doing?
I think the hardest set I remember doing was 30 x 75s fly. That was pretty recent, so perhaps I’ve blocked out any harder sets from before.

6) What is your favorite Amine story?

My favorite Amine moments are when he explains how to race specific events at meets. Before we go up for any race, Amine calls us over to launch into what we know will be a detailed and vivid description of the race before us. We huddle up in a circle around him, and I listen carefully as he explains his trademark 200 strategy–easy speed, build, execute, finish– or reminds me to keep my head down and move my arms faster in the last 25 of the 100 fly. Sometimes, he uses analogies to fully explain the breadth of emotions we should feel. They’re so funny and insightful and give me something to think about as I prepare for my race.

7) If you could go back in time and tell yourself something as a younger swimmer, what would it be?
I would tell myself to go to drylands more (or if there isn’t any, do it on your own!). I don’t think I realized until much later that if you have an injury it’s more important to strengthen your arm muscles and skip practice once a week than to go every day and injure yourself more.

8) How did you balance academics and being a competitive swimmer?
This one was a little bit tricky. There were so many times where I thought to myself, “Wow. This would be so much easier if I went home after school everyday instead.” But honestly, I just got really used to doing my homework at night and that way, I physically could not spend too much time on it because I wouldn’t be able to stay awake. I learned to do work efficiently and study in less time consuming ways.

9) What is your favorite pre-meet meal?
I always forget to eat before the afternoon meets until like 30 minutes before I have to leave. So I end up eating scrambled eggs with crackers because it’s the quickest to make. I also really like cheerios with milk.

10) What is your favorite event and why?
My favorite event is the 100 fly because I like that you can just sprint the entire thing (as opposed to actually strategizing for the 200 fly) and then it’s over. I also like the way I can both sprint but also glide through the first 50 before I get absolutely exhausted.

11) What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
In terms of swimming, I think my proudest accomplishment was earlier this year when I broke a minute in the 100 fly. I hadn’t really improved since before the pandemic started because my old swim team closed down, so once I joined yfd and spent my junior year finally getting back into shape, I was able to drop time in my favorite event for the first time in almost two years.

12) Do you have any advice for the younger swimmers on the team who might want to swim collegiately?  
Make friends and make practice fun (even though while you’re doing it, it might not seem fun). Find good songs to sing in your head during the 30 x 200 freestyle sets and laugh (unless you can’t breathe, in which case take deep breaths!) with the person next to you in the 10 seconds you have on the wall before the next set.