TALLAHASSEE, Florida, March 11. NEXT week’s NCAA Division I women’s swimming and diving championships will feature several first-timers in Minneapolis. Swimming World is reaching out to some of those newbies to the Big Meet to get their thoughts on competing in what is regarded as the toughest meet in the country, and we’re bringing you their responses daily in the lead-up to the NCAA championships.
Year, School: Senior, Florida State
Events she’ll swim at NCAAs: 200 IM, 100 back, 200 back
Swimming World: Congratulations on qualifying for the NCAA championships! What does it feel like to finally get an invite to the meet in your senior year?
McKayla Lightbourn: It feels great to finally have the opportunity to compete at NCAAs. This meet is what every collegiate swimmer strives for and I’m so proud to be able to say I made it.
SW: Since you were “on the bubble” in terms of making the cut for the 200 IM, what have you been doing to be ready for the big meet in case you made it?
Lightbourn: I had the privilege to be a part of a few relays that made the “A” cut, so I was preparing for those with hopes of making it individually as well.
SW: How have the NCAA meet veterans on the Florida State team been preparing you for what to expect at the meet?
Lightbourn: My teammates and coaches have helped me reset my goals as well as my focus in order to swim even faster at NCAAs.
SW: Describe the dynamic among the NCAA team these past few days.
Lightbourn: The NCAA team is an awesome group of ladies. We have been having a lot of fun and swimming fast. It’s a great and positive atmosphere. We are all very motivated and excited to compete at this meet.
SW: In addition to breaking the school record in the 200 IM with a 1:58.11 at the ACC championships, you also broke the school record in the 100 back with a 53.32. To what do you attribute all of your success in the pool this year?
Lightbourn: The swimming program here at FSU has gone through a lot of changes in the past year, mostly with our coaches and I responded really well with that change. Coach Bradley, along with the rest of the coaching staff, has helped the sport be fun again for me and the team.
SW: Any plans to continue competing after the NCAAs?
Lightbourn: I’ve had the chance to compete for the Bahamas at international meets in the past, so this summer I am planning on competing at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.