PHOENIX, Arizona, April 9. KENYON College sprinter Zack Turk joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show to talk about his performances at the recent Division III championships.
In addition to reliving the experience of posting the fastest 50-yard freestyle split on the 200 free relay across all collegiate divisions, Turk also talks about the experience of representing Kenyon's legacy at the meet, and how he made a last-minute decision to become a Kenyon Lord instead of attending a Division I school. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Peter Busch: This is The Morning Swim Show for Monday, April 9th, 2012. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS Monitor today we'll talk to Zack Turk. He's a senior at Kenyon College and he's one of the fastest sprinters in college swimming right now regardless of division. Zack joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Gambier, Ohio. Zach, welcome to The Morning Swim Show. How are you?
Zack Turk: Good. How are you doin'?
Peter Busch: Good. So you won the 50 and the 100 free at the Division III championships, but what's kind of catching everybody's attention is that 18.7 relay split. Holy smokes.
Zack Turk: Thank you.
Peter Busch: When did you figure out that you had split that fast?
Zack Turk: I mean, right after I swam it on — I was on the second leg of the relay. We always, I guess, have the same relay order and I was actually not even the most excited about my split was the whole relay. I realized I had a national record as well and everyone had great splits, so it's great for all four of us to put together a great relay for Kenyon.
Peter Busch: Okay, tell me where you guys were relative to the competition when you went in the water and when you finished.
Zack Turk: Myself or as a relay?
Peter Busch: As a team. So when the first guy comes in, are you guys already leading or is it pretty close across the board?
Zack Turk: No, we were leading from our first — our first is sprinter David Summers — he was runner-up at nationals. He led off with a great split and then from there we just continued to build our lead until the finish.
Peter Busch: So you had maybe, like, a half body length lead going in and probably like, what, five body length lead coming out?
Zack Turk: Something like that.
Peter Busch: Well, Kenyon, you know, you guys are an amazing Division III swim school, but, you know, you guys have been nice enough to kind of share the love and let other teams win the title the past couple years. You know, what's — is that okay with you guys?
Zack Turk: Yeah, I think it is actually — it's something really cool because I remember my freshman year coming to Kenyon, we kind of just felt complacent with winning. We felt that maybe, you know, in four years we would — I thought myself I'd be graduating at number 33. But I think it's great that we lost because it shows that the competition in D3 is getting so much stronger, and at Kenyon we love the competition. We're trying to swim to better ourselves and I think that Denison has made us better. We've shot for a higher goal. We've shot to improve our — all our times at nationals and I think that the competition has really allowed us to become a better team and in the future, I think, will be great for the program.
Peter Busch: How did you choose Kenyon? It's my understanding you almost went to Hawaii? Is that right?
Zack Turk: Yes, I did. My senior of high school I thought that I wanted to be at a division I program and I took a trip out to Hawaii and, obviously, I really wanted to be there. I thought everything was great about Hawaii until the summer before enrolling. I got to thinking about, I guess, majors and the future and the Kenyon experience. I talked to Kenyon grads and I just felt like I could have gotten everything in Hawaii that I would have gotten in Gambier and so much more academically so I thought that I needed to switch my division and I've never been happier with my choice to come to Kenyon.
Peter Busch: But any point in the process — because there's probably a lot of kids watching who maybe had a similar choice where they could go to a bigger school or a, you know, higher division and maybe not be such a big player or they could choose, you know, academics and, like, what you did. At any point in the process when you got faster and faster, did you think, well, it would just be better for my swimming if I were at a school where people could push me more?
Zack Turk: You know, I did go through a process thinking that, but here at Kenyon I honestly think that our program is comparable to any division I program and Coach Steen is such a great coach. He gives so much attention on the swimmers in, as a group, the sprint group at Kenyon were all equal across the board. There was no one that's way better than anyone else. We all push each other in practice. We all take turns winning in dual meets. We all push each other towards the end and it's just great having such a great group of guys to compete with here at Kenyon.
Peter Busch: So the goal now to make Olympic Trials?
Zack Turk: I will be in Olympics trials for the 50 and the 100. I competed last week at the Grand Prix Meet in Indianapolis and I got my cut in both the 50 and the 100.
Peter Busch: Well, congrats. That's great.
Zack Turk: Thank you.
Peter Busch: All right, what happens after swimming for you? Zack Turk: I, actually, will continue swimming. I have another year of eligibility.
Peter Busch: Really?
Zack Turk: Yeah. Last year I spent the year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying abroad, so I have one more year and I'll be doing that into graduate school.
Peter Busch: Very nice. What do you study?
Zack Turk: I'm going for a Masters in Public Policy.
Peter Busch: Public Policy.
Zack Turk: Yes.
Peter Busch: Very cool. You gonna be the next senator from Ohio?
Zack Turk: I hope so.
Peter Busch: Well, Zack, congratulations on a phenomenal junior year, and best of luck this summer and beyond.
Zack Turk: Thank you.
Peter Busch: All right, that's Zack Turk joining us from Kenyon College. And that is it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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