YFD Senior Spotlight: 12 Questions w/ Esme Blackstock

1) How long have you been on YFD?

I have been on the team for 8 years. 

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

I chose Tufts for a multitude of reasons. I have always wanted a mid size school with a city nearby with a strong English program, all things Tufts has. I also knew Tufts was the place for me after my recruit visit. The team was so tight knit and welcoming and I could really see myself spending the next 4 years with such a great group of people. Even though I was a bit shy my first night there, everyone was really nice and always including me. 

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

I am looking to study English, particularly creative writing for screenwriting. 

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

It’s impossible for me to pick just one memory from all of my time on this team. I have made so many great friends throughout my time, a lot of which end with us either singing or laughing till we couldn’t breath. But no matter where we were or how old we were or who we were with, we always stuck together, literally and figuratively. If there were two beds, we’d all pile onto one, a bottom row and a top. If there was two cars, we all squish into one. 

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

There have been so many sets where I’ve cried or even thrown up, but one set that always comes to mind is 16X100s, 12X100s, 8X100s, and 4X100s. We usually did this set in 50s, which was never too bad, but 100s was a whole different story. In the 16, every fourth was prime stroke (for me fly) strong for time, while all the others were free hold 500 pace. In the 12, every third was prime amd the rest free pace. In the 8, every other was prime and the rest free pace. In the 4, all were prime. The first time we did this set I remember crying and thinking I couldn’t finish it. My arms burned so bad and I couldn’t even breath. It was a different kind of hurt. 

6) What is your favorite Amine story?

That also is almost impossible to do, but I have two that stand out to me and that I think capture Amine perfectly. The first was 6 years ago. I was on my first training trip in Florida and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album had just come out. I was sitting in the van with Sarah and Caroline on either sides of me and Amine was driving. As Taylor Swift’s song Blank Space come on, the part where she sings “Boys only want love if it’s torture”, Amine looked back at us and said “Always remember: guys love the chase”. That was one of the first love lessons Amine ever taught me. The second was after I got a call from the Tufts coach saying I was going to be a part of the team in the fall. I called Amine right after and he told me how proud he was and how I had earned it, which just shows how dedicated and supportive he is. 

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

Always work hard and never give up. Swimming is one of those sports where if you aren’t 100% in it, you won’t improve. However, I wish I could’ve also told a younger me to have fun no matter what, and that one race does not define you. You will remember the people and the memories you make rather than how well you do in one race at one meet. I wish I also could’ve seen just how fast time goes and to take advantage of every moment. 

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

It is definitely difficult but it all comes from time management. Swimming has taught me how to be more organized and not procrastinate. Practice helps me to ease my stress for a bit, which helps me to focus when it’s time to start my work when I get home. 

9) What is your favorite pre-meet meal?

Pasta with marinara sauce and a chicken Cesar salad. 

10) What is your favorite event and why?

I love the 50 free. It’s an event I don’t get to do much, but when I do I just go all in for the quick few seconds I’m in the pool and it’s always fun and puts me in a good mood. 

11) What is your proudest accomplishment to date?

I don’t think I have one accomplishment that stands out to me. I have had so many great races that I’m proud of and so many bad ones, but behind all of them have been my coaches and my friends. I think I’m just most proud of who we’ve all become as people and how lucky I am to have grown up with such a wonderful group. 

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

Show the coaches who you are as a person, not just a swimmer. While times are important, they are not everything. Don’t be afraid of the coaches, and remember they are really busy, so if you email them and they don’t answer right away, don’t panic. However, don’t stop with one email. If after a week or so and you don’t get a response, just send a friendly reminder, just to show your interest.