February 13, 2018
YFD Senior Spotlight: 12 Questions with DEVON FRENCH
This week, we are thrilled to spotlight our third member of YFD class of 2018! Please take a moment to share Devon’s questionnaire with your swimmers.
- How long have you been on YFD?
- 9 years
- Why did you choose the school you will attend next
- I was first introduced to the Jumbos at a NESCAC swim meet at Wesleyan, and immediately felt a part of. Later, when touring Tufts, the team invited me to have lunch and I knew I found my home. That sense of fitting in was not only attributed to the warmth and camaraderie of the swimmers and coaches, I loved everything about the school. The clincher was my weekend spent on campus and experiencing the quirky brilliance of George Ellmore. His lecture on phuong tea, and his passion in the belief that “it is cool to be nerdy,” finalized my decision, I wanted to be a Jumbo too.
- Do you know what you want to study? If so, what?
- Quantitative Economics
- What is your favorite memory of being on YFD?
- My favorite moment on the team in all my Years was in the winter of 2014 at MIT. It had been a long and successful weekend, filled with best times across the board. My last event was my best, the 200 fly. I was hoping for a big race and after amines pep talk I was ready to go. I can’t even remember much in between, but I remember finishing the race and looking up at the board shocked by my 6 second drop, making my first sectional cut, and looking back and seeing Amine’s pure bliss. He was more happy for me than I was. I saw my team cheering for me, my dad shouting from the stands, and I heard Amine’s classic “nice race!” I felt like I was talking on water.
- What is the hardest set you can remember doing?
- My first 2:01 set was the hardest set I’ve ever swam through. Some sets are tough by design, swimming 1200 yards fly, or hundreds and hundreds of yards freestyle on a quick interval, but the difficulty of the 2:01 set is that it doesn’t have to be difficult. You are free to drop out when you want to, but there is nothing like a good race. Alec and I pushed through the pain knowing that we could stop when we felt like it but the satisfaction that came from finishing just one more kept us going. We finished just one more, then one more, and finally one more until we couldn’t make it. This broke a comfort boundary for me and helped me realize the satisfaction of plowing through the sets where you choose the difficulty.
- What is your favorite Amine story?
- Amine has a lot of high quality story moments. There are two moments that stick out to me, and both make you have to love Amine just a little more. Over the summer he brought 4 swimmers down to Florida. Many people love to eat Jimmy John’s between sessions however I do not, I refuse to. I told Amine that I would eat back at the hotel because the majority of the people wanted to eat Jimmy Johns. Turns out I didn’t have food in the hotel room, so I walked to get some food. Florida’s unpredictable weather caught me, and I was stuck in the rain hungry and angry and sad, walking a mile to and from 7/11 eating my hot dog. It was then that a car stopped on the side of the road: Amine. He had his classic smile and a sweet laugh, where he was genuinely making fun of me getting caught in the rain after refusing jimmy johns, but he also cared that I was stuck in the rain and he took me back to the hotel before getting his haircut. The other story has a much longer timeline. When I was eight years old I was a sprinter. My specialty was the 25 yard backstroke. I remember my first meet where I won my heat with no time. My dad tells me this story from his perspective all the time, he thought I had won the event. I continued to train backstroke, because it was my favorite stroke. One day Amine was joking around with me and said “little man, one day you’re going to be my 200 butterflier,” and I couldn’t help but cautiously laugh because I didn’t know what the 200 butterfly was. The story ends with Amines told-you-so moment when I dropped 14 seconds in the 200 fly in one season, making my first sectional cut and swimming under 2:00. Why couldn’t he have told me I was going to be his 50 freestyler?
- If you could go back in time and tell yourself
something as a younger swimmer, what would it be?
- Don’t stop. As generic as it sounds, not stopping today, will make not stopping tomorrow a piece of cake. There were plenty of times in my 9 years in the pool where I gave up, all of which I regret. Learning to switch to the second gear when you are hurting, and listening to your coaches advice will give you a better sense of your body, what you’re capable of and how you are swimming.
- How did you balance academics and being a competitive
- I use the 2 hours of practice a day as a way to clear my head. There is no need to stress about school when you are given a break. The great thing about swimming is that you aren’t even given a choice, you can’t talk to anyone but yourself with your face underwater.
- What is your favorite pre-meet meal?
- Penne pasta with butter with a breaded chicken cutlet on top, margarita pizza pie, and a gatorade.
- What is your favorite event and why?
- 200 Fly because I like arguing it is the hardest event. It also tends to be the last event so if I’m lucky enough to make finals I get to warm down in the racing pool.
- What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
- Seeing my hard work in school and swimming pay off by getting into college.
- Do you have any advice for the younger swimmers on the team who might want to swim collegiately ?
- Learn to fail, because it is inevitable that you will; it’s ok. Taking your failure as a success - that you now know one more thing that you shouldn’t do - will only help you achieve what you set out to.