PHOENIX, Arizona, December 6. LAURA Sogar is preparing for her debut on USA Swimming senior team, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show she talks about that upcoming experience and her performances at last week's USA Swimming nationals.
Sogar is a senior at the University of Texas, and she said in this interview with Tiffany Elias that she's in the best shape of her life, a tall order given that she trained hard in high school with Chuck Batchelor, who will be her coach next week at the world championships. Sogar discusses her lifetime-best swims at nationals, and how swimming in front of a partisan crowd in Austin helped her mentality for the meet. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Tiffany Elias: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, December 6, 2012. I am your host Tiffany Elias. Our guest in the FINIS Monitor is Laura Sogar. She has just had a very impressive national meet held at her own pool at the University of Texas and to me it was a good preparation for the short course world championship meet that will be starting next week in Turkey. Laura is joining us from Austin. Laura welcome to the show.
Laura Sogar: Oh thank you. It is great to be here.
Tiffany: Congratulations on your Nationals meet. Were you happy with your performance?
Laura: Yeah, I was really happy with it. It is always nice to go best times so it was really fun.
Tiffany: Well, I want to talk about those times in comparison to where you were in just a bit, but let's first talk about the meet being held at your home pool in Austin. Do you feel like there was more or less pressure with it being held there?
Laura: I wouldn't say it was more pressure, but there was definitely more like excitement in here, I would say. A really big crowd came, surprisingly, and swim meets are not super well-attended, but this one I think it was sold out on the second night. A lot of people came to come see Olympians and obviously Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin and all that stars over there. So there was a lot of Texas students and fans in the stands and you they still were supporting Texas so it was really nice in without sending or without relays we are going to have the support from the crowd and it really helped me get fired up and excited to race fast.
Tiffany: Yeah, the crowd really can help especially in those meets do you think that if the meet was held somewhere else and maybe the atmosphere wasn't as exciting you would have had the same results?
Laura: Well it is really hard to say I guess, but I would hope so.
Laura: But people wouldn't have been so happy.
Tiffany: Yeah. It would have been a little bit more difficult.
Laura: It would have been a little different.
Tiffany: Well, let's talk about your times because they are considerably faster than where you were in March which was not that long ago. First time under 59 in the 100 breaststroke which is a huge barrier to break and then your 200 breaststroke as well, 2:05 What were your goals going into the meet?
Laura: Going into the meet I didn't want to set any limits on myself or I knew what my best times were going in and I didn't want to have those embedded in my mind. I just — I didn't want to have those times being like the standard for myself and Carol and I talked about doing what my body could do and not necessarily what I have done before and I think I did create a job just going out and racing as hard as I could and dropping significant amounts and putting myself in a new level.
Tiffany: Well you really did drop significant amounts especially in your 200 breaststroke. So you were 2:09 at NCAA's in March, 2:05. Now to put that into perspective Caitlin Leverenz won NCAA's last year in a 2:04 so you are right there in the competition now for not only being a finalist again which you were last year, but really being competitive for that title. What has been the big difference in what you have been doing over the last couple of months to get you there?
Laura: It is kind of hard to say. Definitely Carol coming to Texas and swimming with her has really made a huge difference on my training. We have been doing a lot of different things. I feel like I am in the best shape I have ever been in my life so I am confident in listening again and I think I am much stronger than I was before so I am able to go faster.
Tiffany: To be in the best shape of your life your senior year is really a big feat. I don't think all athletes are able to experience that as they get older, but what do you specifically does carol work on with you guys that you think has allowed you to get into the best shape of your life or has it been in combination of what you are doing on your own?
Laura: I think there has been. I mean there is. I am definitely trying things outside of who I have been working extensively with the nutritionist to make sure I am eating the right things and feeling my body properly, but also just the general training of the whole team has come and go. It has been so really hard like really hard, but a lot of endurance based stuff especially the fall getting that base in and really knowing that when the time comes, you are not going to like fall apart to be able to finish our race as well especially once we have our full rest under our belt. We have been doing a lot of running too and that is something I had never — I did some in high school but I have never really had as a larger part of my training and I have responded pretty well to it so I am excited to continue having that be part of it and then lifting obviously we have lifted really, really heavy most of the fall so it is helping build a lot of muscle. I feel very strong about that.
Tiffany: So is your training more so focused on your 200 breaststroke?
Laura: I would say so far, yes, but I know that I think I am going to be doing some more strength work as NC's comes around since. My 100 is getting better and hopefully I can I just prepare well on that as well.
Tiffany: Well that is right.
Laura: I would like to say the 200 is like my baby.
Tiffany: All right, well that is what I was going to ask because with the 200 being your baby and as of right now where we are at in the season your trainings probably higher endurance so it is catering to your 200 a little bit more, so were you shocked that you are able to break the 59 barrier in the 100 breaststroke since your focus has been 200 oriented?
Laura: Yeah, I was actually really, really, really surprised with my time on Friday night in the 100. I did not expect that I was going to go a best time in the 100 just because of the work we have been doing and the place that I am at in my training. So I was fine with that I was like okay it will be more of endurance like longer swim meet so, and then to go best times still is really exciting and happy.
Tiffany: So moving forward your are prepping for short course worlds that are coming up here in Turkey.
Tiffany: Now this is going to be probably you're largest, or your biggest international meet. What are your, are you nervous or are you excited about it, what are your feelings going into this big meet?
Laura: I am super excited. I think it is going to be really fun. I have heard so many wonderful things about these national team trips I have been on a few junior national team troops to like the Junior Pan Pacific Games and junior worlds and those were an absolute blast and you make such good friends on them so I am really excited for that and such and then to be able to race at the senior year national level and represent my country is just a huge honor so I am really nervous actually, but I think it is really fun. My old club coach is going too and he is — Chuck Batchelor is the head of women's coach for the team so really nice to have a familiar face helping me along.
Tiffany: Well that is really exciting. That is a great and that is a great connection for you because now you swam for him for a couple of years and high yardage is what he is predominantly known for.
Tiffany: Do you think that you will fall back into some old training habits when you are with him as head coach in Turkey?
Laura: Probably, I mean I don't swim until the last day of the competitions since the 200 breaststroke is I think it is on the 16th so I won't really get a chance to do any of the normal training that I have used to do with him which makes me feel a little better so it was some kind of scary.
Tiffany: Yeah, let's leave those high yards behind in high school.
Laura: That was from a long time ago, it was pretty intense, but I have decided to definitely do stroke work and just a normal like taper workouts and just even being around and it is always so fun.
Tiffany: Do you think that high yardage and base you developed going into Texas has really helped you throughout your last couple of years?
Laura: Absolutely. I would definitely — it is like I would definitely say so. The stuff that we do on Bluefish gave me a mental toughness that I have heavily, heavily relied on over the years, now I am not scared of any of the sets — well, almost any of the sets that we have encountered since I have been in college ever since the stuff that we did then so and then racing I am not really scared of that either. I have hurt pretty bad before, so.
Tiffany: Great, well we are looking forward to watching the short course worlds and we will definitely see you out at the NCAA's in March.
Laura: Yeah, I am looking forward to it. Thank you so much.
Tiffany: Thanks for joining us Laura.
Laura: Thank you. Bye.
Tiffany: That is Laura Sogar in the FINIS Monitor and that will conclude today's Morning Swim Show. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest news. I am your host Tiffany Elias. Thanks for watching.
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