PHOENIX, Arizona, May 11. WE recently spoke with Curtis Lovelace, who swims with Grey Carter of Montgomery Bell Academy and John Morse of Nashville Aquatic Club out of Nashville, Tenn., for our ongoing series on promising rising seniors.
As of the May 8 National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) release of All-American candidates, Lovelace stands fifth in both the 100 breast (56.48) and 200 IM (1:50.13).
Here is our interview with Lovelace:
Was there a watershed mark in your career that made it clear you had a gift for the sport and could achieve big things?
When I was 14, I won the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the Southern Zone Championships in Ft. Lauderdale. I had barely made the zone team as a 12 year old, so to come that far and actually win at 14 was amazing.
What type of interaction do you have with your coach when it comes to training? What kind of input do you have?
Coach John Morse, as an age group coach, has a record that speaks for itself. He's been coaching at Nashville Aquatic Club for more than 20 years now and has produced at least 25 Olympic Trials qualifiers and numerous successful college swimmers throughout the United States. Being part of such a big team, I don't have a whole lot of say in every day practice, but since I've continually gotten faster, I believe that what Coach Morse does will pay dividends.
What are your goals for your senior season?
My goals are to win both the 100 breast and 200 IM at our state meet and set the Tennessee high school record in both events. I also want to qualify for the Olympic Trials in both breaststrokes and IMs, hopefully making the National Junior Team. I'd love to go to Australia!
Who has made the biggest impact on your swimming career to this point?
Definitely my dad, Larry. Since he was a scholarship swimmer in college, he got me started swimming before I could even walk. I have pictures of us at the YMCA when I was in diapers. I even swam my first 25, when I was 4, at the pool he swam at in college. Ironically, his worst stroke, breaststroke, is my best. He constantly helps me fine-tune my stroke, gives me encouragement everyday, and makes swimming fun. I don't know where I would be without him.
Have you verbally committed to any University? If so, which one and why? If not, who is in your top five and why?
No, I haven't committed anywhere yet. There are many good colleges out there that have contacted me. At this point, I'm wide open, but am leaning toward schools with warmer climates and strong academic programs. If I had to name five, all subject to change, I'd say: North Carolina, Florida State, Texas, Stanford and Georgia.
What has the recruiting process been like for you?
I've received tons of mail and letters from various colleges. Many have promised to call me on July 1, when I technically become a senior and the true recruiting process begins. My dad and I have visited a couple of schools on our own, and it has been a real fun experience for the both of us. I've also been receiving a lot of letters based on my academic achievements from colleges that don't realize I'm a swimmer. I know it will be a real tough decision when the time comes.