Phi: Could you tell me a little bit about how you became a swimmer?
TT: Well, my parents did, in a sense, throw me in the pool when I was young. I started swimming competitively when I was four years old, only swimming in the summers. I began year-round swimming when I was 8 and continued until I was twelve. I was doing extremely well when I was about 10 years old, but soon after, when everyone else started to grow, I didn’t hit my spurt yet. Over the next two years, I began to fall behind everyone else and when I was twelve, I had felt a bit burned out, and I quit until I was about 16, when I hopped back in the pool after a summer of coaching and realized that it was time to get back in the pool competitively. I swam year-round for my junior and senior years of high school with great improvement of my times in those years.
Phi: How much do you eat a day? What’s your favorite pre-meet snack?
TT: I would say that I eat between three to four thousand calories a day to keep up with our rigorous training schedule, 99 percent of which is at D-Hall. As for my favorite pre-meet snack, I would say it would have to be oatmeal. It’s one of my only pre-meet rituals, oatmeal in the hotel lobby before every morning session. As far as at the meets goes, I would say Quaker Chewy Bars hit the spot.
Phi: Since qualifying for the Olympic Trials next year in Omaha, how has your mental approach shifted, at all? Are you more confident? More anticipatory?
TT: I have had my sights set on Olympic Trials since NCAA’s last year. Once I saw how fast I could go, the qualifying time for Olympic Trials was all that was on my mind. After a rigorous summer of training and qualifying, I would not say my outlook has changed too much. It’s every swimmer’s dream to be able to go to Olympic Trials and I am extremely anticipatory, but all I can do right now in the season is to work my hardest and swim one day at a time, making sure I put my full effort into every single practice.
Phi: What are your personal goals for this season and your career at W&L?
TT: This season, I have set my goals especially high. I’ve come into the season already in good shape (where I was lacking last year) and ready to work. This year, my goal is to break 19.5 in my 50 yard freestyle, 42.99 in my 100 yard freestyle, and 1:36.99 in my 200 freestyle. Some people might say that these goals are unreasonable looking at my times from last year. but I figure if people aren’t questioning your goals, then you clearly have not set them high enough.
As for my career at W&L, my first and foremost goal is to continue dropping time throughout my four years here. It is common that people stop dropping time and “plateau” at a certain point, and I really do not want to face that. During my time here, I do want to set a Division III record in any of my events, which are not too far off of the goal times I have set for this season.
Phi: What do you like to do when you’re not in the pool?
TT: Most of my time (when I am in-season) is spent in the library. W&L coursework really piles on with huge obligations like swimming that take massive chunks out of my day. When I do have the occasional free-time, I like to sit back with a couple buddies and play Super Smash Bros on N64. I like to throw on my headphones and listen to music after a really long day, but as a swimmer, free time doesn’t roll around that often, so I really try to capitalize when I can.