PHOENIX, Arizona, June 17. ANDREW Saeta, a five-star backstroker from the Class of 2009, took time out to chat with Swimming World in the latest College Recruit Rankings Profile feature. Saeta, who hails from Pasadena, Calif., swims for Ryan Katsuyama at Pasadena Polytechnic and Gary Anderson at California Aquatics.
Where and when did you start swimming?
I started swimming competitively when I was six at a country club in La Canada. After two summers of swimming there, I joined Rose Bowl Aquatics because I was getting a little bored during the school year with no swimming. So, I decided I wanted to try out for a year-round club team.
Who would you name as the most influential person and coach in your swimming career?
Well, the most influential person in my swimming career is by far my coach Gary Anderson. I've been swimming for him for about six-and-a-half years, and have loved every moment of it. Gary went to the Olympics twice for Canada, so he brings a lot of personal experiences to his workouts and strategies that have helped me better understand the whole mindset that an elite swimmer must have to succeed.
There is also one other person that has greatly influenced what I have done over the years in the pool: Steve Prefontaine. Pre, as he was better known, was the greatest American distance runner of the 1970s and was known for his insane work ethic. He even ran the 5,000 meter at NCAAs with a massive gash in between his two toes and still went a best time. It's those kinds of things, where he neglected to feel pain that make him so inspirational. He also said my favorite quote of all time…"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift."
What, to this point, is your best moment in the sport and why?
I would definitely have to say that the best moment of my career was when I got my first Olympic Trials cut (in the 100 back). I got it a few months ago at the Stanford Grand Prix Meet. A few weeks earlier, I missed the time by .23 at the NCSA Junior Nationals. The day before the 100 back in Stanford I missed the 200 back by .06. I guess you could say I was a little angry. At the 50 of my 100 back, I flipped and saw my split on the scoreboard, 28.20. That was the exact same time I had gone out in when I missed the cut at Juniors. I knew that I had a shot at making the time, so I just tried to increase my tempo as much as I could and when I touched, the board rewarded me with my first Olympic Trials cut.
Walk us through a day of practice:
4:30 am-wake up
5:00 am-time for practice (usually in between 5-7,000 yards)
7:00 am-head home
7:05 am-eat second breakfast (I live really close to the pool)
7:30 am-nap time (my favorite part of the day)
4:00 pm-afternoon workout (about the same distance as morning practice)
6:30 pm-workout's over, time for dinner!
What is your favorite set?
My favorite set is also probably one of the hardest sets I've ever done. It's 12 x 300's (yards) on 3:45 all backstroke. The odds are negative split (they have to be 1:35 for the first 150, and then 1:30 for the second one), and the evens are 1-6 descend, starting at no slower than 3:10. In order to finish the set, the 5th and 6th even ones (numbers 10 and 12) have to be at least a 3:00 and a 2:55, so I have sometimes seen 12 x 300's become 20 x 300's on my bad days.
What are your short-term goals?
My short-term goal would have to be making the National Junior Team in the 100 back. I'm only about four tenths away from the cut, so I hope to get it at Trials. A more far-fetched goal would be to make top 16 at trials.
What are your long-term goals?
2012, London….gold medal….100 and 200 back…
What colleges are you interested in so far and why?
Right now, and in no particular order, my top six choices are Cal, Stanford, Texas, USC, Arizona, and Michigan. All of these schools are swimming powerhouses, and I would love to swim for all of their coaches.
Is there anything else interesting that you'd like our readers to know about you?
Well…I guess another interesting thing about me is that I love playing guitar. I've been playing guitar for about four years now and have acquired a decent little collection of them, including a few signed by some well-known bands.
To be eligible to be featured in this series, please make sure you create a new profile, or request to take over your admin-created account in the Swimming World College Recruit Rankings powered by Take Your Marks. Click here for information on how to do so.