PHOENIX, Arizona, November 8. ON today's edition of the Morning Swim Show, host Jeff Commings talks to USC Junior Meghan Hawthorne. Hawthorne talks about swimming a lifetime best in-season in the 400 IM at the SMU Classic, and how USC head coach Dave Salo helped her re-evaluate her season goals. She continues the interview by talking about learning through training with teammate, and fellow 400 IMer, Katinka Hosszu, along with numerous other current Olympians. 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 8th 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. In the FINIS Monitor today is University of Southern California Junior Meghan Hawthorne, who is someone you should watch in the months leading up to the NCAA championships. She swam a lifetime best in the 400-yard IM at the SMU Classic and she joins us now from Los Angeles. Meghan, good to see you, welcome to the show, how are you?
Meghan Hawthorne: Good to see you too. Thank you for having me
.Jeff: So 4:07.21 in the 400-yard IM. Lifetime best in-season. I mean nobody does that. I mean was that a big surprise to you?
Meghan: Yeah, I was actually really shocked. I mean Dave was telling me, “Hey, I think you can go a best time now.” And I mean I put up my goal and he was like, “You know, I think these are, I think you need to rethink them and think you can go so much faster.” And so when I actually went in I was like, “Okay, yeah. I think I am good. I think Dave is right.” So I was definitely pretty shocked and excited.
Jeff: Well I swam in that pool at SMU a few times, just not really conducive for fast swimming. They got that shallow end and one end, I mean were you kind of thinking also that you know this isn't really the place where I can probably do something like that?
Meghan: I don't think it was ever an issue. I mean I trained at home in a pool that was 6 lanes and small and I mean pools — I don't really care as long as it is water and they have a lane, I do what I need to do to go fast so. It definitely had a really close environment that was exciting when the fans came in and stuff and it actually got us excited, remember like, ooh this is fun, so it was great.
Jeff: Yeah, that definitely is one of the advantages of being in that pool.
Jeff: So before the SMU Classic what was the best in season time in that 400 IM?
Meghan: It was NCAA championships in March. It was at 4:07.50 I think.
Jeff: And then unshaved what was the best time you had ever done?
Meghan: Unshaved, I think 408, unshaved was the best.
Jeff: So you are pretty good in season swimmer then?
Meghan: Yeah, I mean I wouldn't say all the time but this is probably a nice example, but yeah. I mean any time I can swim fast. I am going to do it and get the best time if I can so yeah.
Jeff: Right, well I guess we should have seen this coming. I mean you had a really good summer I mean drop at really 4 seconds in your 400 meter IM at Olympic trials, got 6th place in that and then you won the US Open. I mean what has been going on these past 6 months?
Meghan: I mean, it is — just I have kind of changed as a trainer. I have definitely taken a lot from Katinka this past year and I have learned how to train and how to really push myself because these she was having was like I was scared to go past the level of pain and kind of was like, “I don't know, I don't really like this.” So we just kind of, I learned how to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable so Dave always says that is the key, but I just, I really took advantage of every aspect I have. Like we got the chance to get Olympic Training Center. You know I trained hard there. I went to trials. I got an awesome experience. I took my experience from trials and trained hard up to Open and I mean I just I kind of grown as a trainer and a swimmer and I think that is really important.
Jeff: Well I think if you are going to be a 400 IMer, I think you are going to have to start embracing that pain. I don't think there is any way to escape it.Meghan: Yeah, pain is always there.
Jeff: Well speaking of Katinka, Katinka Hossz?, she was the NCAA champion in the 400 IM this past season. I guess now at USC you are going to be the top 400 IMer and 200 IMer I believe. What does it feel like to have that responsibility?
Meghan: It is you know it is great. I also have great support. I mean I am not going to be the top because we have Stina, we have Jasmine and we have a great IM corps and I am just really excited to have the opportunity to kind of step up as a junior and show you know Jasmine and Andrea Kropp even what it is about and how we train as an IM group and I mean we have such great trainers in that group and anything I can do to help them and guide them towards this is how I was supposed to train. This is what is going to lead us to possibly a national championship and all that.So I mean it is a great responsibility. I don't mind having it and I love to train so yeah.
Jeff: Yeah, it is a good group of swimmers. Stina Gardell and Jasmine Tosky. I mean they both have different strengths. You are a backstroker; Jasmine really known for her butterfly. I mean, how do you guys mix it up in your training? Is it specifically like you know let's say Tuesday is all fly day, Wednesday is all breaststroke day?
Meghan: You know I honestly can't tell you what each day is like because Dave changes each day everyday. It is different, but IM sets, they include all the strokes, a lot of freestyle, breaststroke, whatever. We focused a lot on just the quality of the set that we are doing rather than the quantity, so we do more stuff that is like — it might not sound hard when it is written on paper when Dave is explaining it, but the moment you start, it is just like “Oh my God I am dying,” but that what makes it fun you don't know when it is going to be like everyday. One day you could do just do distance freestyle or it's not going to be distance. It is not really distance but like freestyle or breaststroke and what not, so it is always different even now with Jon Urbanchek the new assistant coach, he is awesome, he gives us great IM sets Tuesday and Thursday so I get excited when he walks on the pool deck because I know it is something new and fresh so fresh and new definitely on deck.
Jeff: Well the women's team and the men's team must be really riding high after the Olympics. Both teams have Olympic medalist Haley Anderson on the women's team and Vlad Morozov on the men's team. How does it feel now being on a team with Olympic medalists. I mean obviously you have had all this post grads that were great walking around the deck, but I mean the now have Olympic medalists on the collegiate team, what has that done for the men and women there?
Meghan: Oh, it is just brought us so much confidence. I mean Haley I heard her watching at U.S. Open and literally getting so excited and almost crying because I know she worked so hard and for her to get that goal and get that silver medal was just incredible, and I mean it definitely brought a good vibe coming into this year having her and having Vlad and having all the Olympic medalists who are current students. They really just share that experience and really you know shows that it is possible that we can do it, too. We can get medals. We can get the national championship, whatever it may be and for them to be here, it is great, it is really great. It is really awesome.
Jeff: So how does getting your new life time best in season in that 400 IM and also the way you, how well you swam this past summer, how does that affect your goals for your junior and beyond?
Meghan: Well I think it is just really just try to push myself to see how good I can get as a swimmer and you know I am not going to stop until I feel like I have done my best, but it is definitely, it is a great feeling to know that I am going these times this early in the season because sometimes you are going to get nervous. You are like I don't really know how it is going to go, but I mean putting out times like this, it brings me confidence to know that if I keep on training like I am training. I have and by December and in March I may get even better. So I am really, I am super excited to see how it goes.
Jeff: Well we are super excited too Meghan. This definitely looks like the start of a great junior year for you and more things to come. I am sure I would imagine that you are going to continue on to 2016.
Meghan: We will see, we will see. I am excited. I am going to take it year-by-year.
Jeff: Well that is good to hear. That is probably the best way to look at it especially the beginning of Olympic cycle.
Jeff: Well Meghan thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations on a life time best and we are looking forward to see more of you down the road.
Meghan: Thank you.
Jeff: All right so that is Meghan Hawthorne joining us in the FINIS Monitor and that is going to do it for today's Morning Swim Show as always we remind you to join us at swimmingworld.com on Facebook and on Twitter to keep up with the latest news. I am Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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