April 27, 2020
How long have you been on YFD?
This is my eleventh season on YFD — so crazy to think
Why did you choose the school you will attend next year?
I chose Hamilton College because I’ve always wanted a school that felt like camp. Hamilton initially stood out to me because of the excellent English and Writing programs. I wanted the close community and rural campus, in addition to a place that I could find a good balance between academics, athletics, and other activities. At Hamilton, everyone is so kind and passionate about what they do, and the swim team has been so warm and welcoming to me already. I can’t wait to be party of the HAMily!!
Do you know what you want to study? If so, what?
I want to study some mix of English, Creative Writing, and Comparative Literature.
What is your favorite memory of being on YFD?
Wow, this one is hard. YFD has brought me close to some of my
favorite people, and I’m so grateful for every moment with
them. From locker room laughs to sing-alongs at away meets,
it’s been one wild, great ride. If I had to choose one
moment, though, I would say my training trip sophomore year. We
were constantly singing, and one evening practice we were having a
jam-session while getting ready to dive in. We were singing some
song from Pitch Perfect, and got so into it that Amine actually let
us get in late so we could finish our song. The whole trip had that
type of crazy energy, and I miss it so much.
What is the hardest set you can remember doing?
Probably the 2:01 set, a training trip classic. How it works is you do a series of 100s freestyle on 2:01, but you have to finish before the “top” so each time you have to go a second faster to make it. I’ve always compared this set to boiling water — it’s a slow burn, but all of the sudden it hits you. However, it’s designed so you can really push yourself past your limits, and I’ve often surprised myself with what I can do in it.
What is your favorite Amine story?
My freshman year, we had a training trip in Deerfield Beach. On
our last night, it was particularly cold, and we all complained
about practicing outside in 50 degree weather. After a quick sprint
set, Amine called us out of the pool and into a circle for a chat.
We all expected an even harder test set — to go out with a
bang — but instead, Amine announced that we would be making
the long drive to Miami for dinner. We all cheered, and soon found
ourselves eating dinner at a nice restaurant on the Miami strip. It
was such a fun night, and I really appreciated Amine’s
spontaneity in giving us such a special experience.
If you could go back in time and tell yourself something as a younger swimmer, what would it be?
As cliche as it sounds, I would tell myself to never give up. I would say to stick with swimming through every setback, as the good will always outweigh the bad. Even in the face of injuries or burnout, I would say to keep pushing through, because every hardship has an “after” that makes it all worth it. Also, savor every moment on the team. From practices, meets, and meals with your friends, truly make the most of your time with the sport.
How did you balance academics and being a competitive swimmer?
My main thing would be time management and making the most of free periods at school. Also, make time for activities that aren’t school or swim to keep you sane — be it an art, second sport, or something different, find something you can do just for the sake of enjoying it. Though it may be hard to schedule into your busy days, you’ll feel less overwhelmed overall and be able to make the most of the time you do spend working on schoolwork or swimming.
What is your favorite pre-meet meal?
My go-to pre-meet meal is always spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs (aka “wheatballs”).
What is your favorite event and why?
I love the 500 because it’s long enough that you still have to find a good pace, but you can get into a faster groove than in the 1000 or the mile. It’s definitely a longer race, but never overwhelmingly so — just as you start to get tired out, it’s over. I also love the 200 backstroke. I think back is really fun in general, and I’ve always been more into 200s than 100s.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
In junior year, I had been forced to take two weeks off swimming due to a kidney infection. I got back into the pool exactly a month before MIT, weak and discouraged, and I had trouble getting back in shape after being so sick. However, I gave my all every day and, exactly a month after my sickness, I still swam the mile (and only added 2 seconds!). I spent November 6th in a hospital bed, but December 6th swimming the mile. I didn’t even know if I would be back in the pool, let alone competing. I was so proud of how hard I had worked to build my strength and endurance back after such a setback.
Do you have any advice for the younger swimmers on the team who might want to swim collegiately?
Keep every option open, because you never know what schools you’ll end up liking. Don’t burn a single bridge until you have an acceptance letter in your hand, and keep an open mind with everything. Also, have coaches see you as a person and not just an athlete, so they want to recruit you for more than just your times. It’s one thing to score points at a meet, it’s another to contribute positively to team culture — show them you can do both, and that you’re someone worth investing in.