PHOENIX, Arizona, November 22. ON our Thanksgiving edition of The Morning Swim Show we bring you an interview with a swimmer who has plenty to be thankful for this season: UC-San Diego junior Nick Korth.
Korth won both breaststrokes last weekend at the Arena Invite, beating out several Division I swimmers and setting himself up for a run at the Division II national titles next spring. He talks about the thrill of racing against Stanford last weekend, and how the combined men's and women's teams work together to achieve success at the national level. He also sizes up his competition in the breaststroke events, knowing his goal of returning to the top of the podium will not be easy. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, November 22nd, 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and one person who has plenty to be thankful for is Nick Korth, a junior at UC San Diego. He had a great meet at the Arena Invite last weekend posting a very fast time in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and Nick joins us now in the FINIS monitor from San Diego. Nick good to see you, how are you today?
Nick Korth: I am doing pretty good. How about yourself?
Jeff: I am doing well, but probably not as good as you. You had a great meet at the Arena Invite: 54.2, 1:58.1 in the breaststrokes. You got to be real happy with those times.
Nick: Yeah, you know I am always happy to swim fast and you know always of course I am looking for a faster time, but at this time of the season right now I am pretty pleased that I am doing you know as well as the rest of the team.
Jeff: Yeah, I know those weren't your lifetime bests, so what was the level of preparation for you for this meet? Was it a half taper?
Nick: Well the meet started on Thursday and I was still working pretty hard on Monday so it is almost like a drop taper, but for the most part you know I didn't get that much rest. The coaches are still pushing the team pretty hard and you know there comes a time for big meets like that you have to step up and swim big.
Jeff: Well I want to talk about the 200 breast, as I said 1:58.1. Now I am not sure if you realize this, that was — that is the second fastest time in college right now across all of the divisions. You know you are swimming at a Division 2 school. So was that you feel to know that among all college swimmers, Division 1, 2, 3 NAIA that you got the second fastest time right now?
Nick: I am pretty pleased to hear that especially for like you know division 2 program, swimming against like big schools like Stanford. It really shows us, it shows the school and like the potential that we have which puts us on the map and hopefully you know empowers the team a little bit and gives us a little bit more confidence into the next season, or not the next season but next semester you know nationals and our conference meet and such.
Jeff: Well talk about that swimming against teams like Stanford at the Arena invite. What was the mindset among the teams there at UC San Diego knowing that you guys are going up against a big team like Stanford?
Nick: Going into the meet like we knew it was really going to be hard to make finals. We also knew that in order to swim in the finals, you had to swim big in the morning so the first day was a little bit nerve-racking but having big swims from like different individuals like Dane Stassi on the butterfly events or some of the women swimming their events as well especially like the 2IM. It put a little more confidence in the team. I know Thursday night when I had the 200 IM you know originally it was supposed be seven Stanford guys and myself, but two of them scratched out and two BYU guys joined me so made ita little bit more easy to get up there knowing that it wasn't just Stanford. You know last year it was seven Stanford guys and myself so it was a little bit nerve wrecking, but you know at the end of the day you have to like swim fast.
Jeff: You know, I wouldn't call that really nerve wrecking. I would call that pretty inspiring to know that you know among all those Stanford guys you are the one representing all of the other schools in that event.
Nick: Well, you know I like swimming fast and with all the hard work that I would put in you know it is really nice to see that everything comes to fruition and you know hard work does pay off.
Jeff: I just want to remind people for those who may not even know, you won the 200 breast your freshmen year in NCAA division 2 championships. What were the emotions for you and how did you go — how have you been able to continue through your career having done so well in your freshman year?
Nick: Well, like I went to UC Irvine my first year and they cut the swim program before I actually got there, so I kind of reevaluated my life. I wanted to see if swimming was something I wanted to do and I took off a quarter and I decided that I wanted to continue training and you know UCSC picked me up and gave me a shot at you know swimming again, and I wanted to prove them and everyone else that I can know I still had it, that I was available to do this and going to the nationals I was pretty nervous. You know I had a lot of big competition and you know come time for finals my coach was like just go out and have fun you know it is just one swim, the icing on the cake you made nationals and you know let's get it done so when I would swim my own race you know one of the guys are kind of passing me a little bit I knew I had to stick my own race plan and you know ever since that I have kind of done my own thing. Listen to the coaches and even when it does go a little bit harder and I don't feel like I am doing what I need to do necessarily it is nice to go to the coaches and have them reevaluate and just tell me that I am doing everything I need to do or what I need to change and just pretty much trust in them, you know I have been able to be pretty successful so far and you know always having for more so you just got to listen to coaches and hope for the best you know this season and next season as well.
Jeff: Well it sounds like UC Irvine's loss is UC San Diego's gain. It has probably been a really big motivator for them to know that you know you have been able to kind of boost the program's visibility, you know that you can win NCAA's your freshman year. Tell us more about the team. It is a combined team correct? The men and women swim together?
Nick: Yeah, it is a combined team and it is something that I really do like about this program. You know there are a lot of schools that have just the women's program or like you know the men's program is not as involved, but we train with each other each day. Both coaches Corrie Falcon and Matt Macedo coach both of the groups so it is isn't just one main coach really like the men's team and the women's team, but everyone kind of shares and works out with each other and it brings like a nice family atmosphere and of course it is like the guys don't want to lose to the girls and the girls are pushing the guys because they are doing well in practice and the excitement that it brings to practicing like competition actually makes it much more enjoyable and easy to train, easy to focus. You know the women are cheering for the men during their events and vice versa and everyone gets behind each other and you know it isn't just one swimmer anymore you know swimming their own events, the whole team behind them and it is nice to know that everyone gets to work together and everyone has got your back.
Jeff: Yeah, I noticed that when I went to cover the Division 2 championships last March you know it is a combined meet in UC San Diego being a combined team, it definitely looked like it was everybody out there swimming with everybody else. When you guys start a new season what is kind of the major focus or the goal going into each season?
Nick: Of course it is like to win NC's, but in order to do that you have to create a lot of smaller steps in order to achieve that dream. So of course we have our own goal meetings between the genders, but then we come together as a team and say what we would like to do. And you know countless times we have like many guys and girls say like support the other team, so support the women's team on the men's side or support the men's side from the women's team and you know set different goals like that. Qualify people at Arena for NC's just kind of get out of the way so we can train through conference and we put times up as well. It is like as far as like what we would like to achieve, but at the same time it is not necessarily you know a time standard. You just want to make sure we are working hard, like give 100% each day or you know give what you can and just try not to waste any practices and those are probably the basic ones. Then of course people going to their own individual goals as far as how they like to do at the end of the year whether it is academics because you know academics is a big part of UC San Diego and everyone wants to stay eligible, so you know that is pretty important for us, but at the same time we do want to have a good time and we do want to make sure that this is a family atmosphere, very enjoyable and that you know by the end of the year we have done everything we can and we are happy with the results.
Jeff: Yeah, you guys are pretty close to that NCAA title. Last year I believe both men and women were third?
Nick: No, men got second and women got third.
Jeff: Yeah, so you guys were pretty close to take them down Drury. I am sure every year you guys want to be the ones to do. I know once they did it on the women's side they took down Drury, but I am sure that is going to be right at the top of you guys' list as to be the one who doesn't do that this year.
Nick: Yeah and I like we would like to beat them, but at the same time you know maybe Drury gets third and someone else gets first so we are not just going to say you know let's beat Drury in our goal right now to win and you know right now I am sure that they are going to be a big contender as always and you know the team has to work hard but it would be nice to win. I have got 2 more years here — or this year and the following year so it would be nice to take home a national championship.
Jeff: Well you got a pretty big contender in your way in the breaststroke events, Eetu Karvonen from Grand Canyon. I am sure you have got him on your mind every time you are doing a hard breaststroke set knowing that you got to get past him to repeat as champion again?
Nick: You know like I followed college swimming pretty avidly. You know looking up times every week and there are a bunch of other guys that do the same, you know we keep each other in check as far as what we have to follow and Eetu has been putting up a lot of fast times and the same with a bunch of other swimmers so it is kind of, it is hard knowing what exactly they are doing, but at the same time you know it pushes me to drive myself a little bit further and of course I would like to win a national championship individually but at the end of the day you know I need to score more points for my team so if that means taking second and third place and other events by still swimming like a full course load of you know 3 relays and 4 individuals then you know I will do that at the end of the day, rather than trading you know one relay and 2 individuals just to win like 1 event or 2 events. So that is the focus right now. Obviously you want to get the most points in nationals so you know, but I am glad Eetu is out there just pushing me same with Thiago from Incarnate Word. So you know props to those guys. Thanks for pushing me.
Jeff: Yeah, I am sure they are watching this and they are like okay now we got to get into training as hard as Nick because he is motivated too. I know college graduation is a year or two away but what are you studying and what kind of career plans do you have in mind?
Nick: Right now I am studying Econ with minor in Business, and at this point in my life I really don't know what I like to do. I know I want to help people and I can see myself you know being a swim coach or doing something to swim. I do love the pool and being around it. I love the investment that you get in helping other people. You know seeing them drop time or just getting stronger, faster, et cetera, but you know at the end of the day I just want to like know that I am making a difference in someone's life, helping him out a little bit so you know — sorry I can't answer that question completely for you but you know at this point I just want to help people.
Jeff: Well like I said you are just a junior. You got to wow them too figure it all out and if coaching pulls you toward a career, that is great too and if it is the business world I am sure it is going to be just as equally rewarding for you — just it is good to know that you want to go out there and help people and I mean I think that is a good way to start thinking about what you want to do. All right Nick thank you very much for joining us. Congratulations again a great meet at the arena invite. We are looking forward to seeing how you progress this season and good luck at the NCAA championship as well.
Nick: Thanks for having me and you know best of luck and go Tritons.
Jeff: All right. Thanks Nick. All right so that is Nick Korth joining us today in the Morning Swim Show. We hope all of you in the United States enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday. I am Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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