PHOENIX, Arizona, March 7. ANDREY Seryy is looking to end his collegiate career on a high note with some big wins at the NCAA Division II championships next week, and he talks about his goals on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show.
Seryy, a senior at Wayne State College, talks about the reasons why he chose Division II and how he views Division II compared to other NCAA divisions. He also talks about the makeup of Russian sprinters and whether he can break through that to qualify for the Olympic team. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Peter Busch: Welcome to The Morning Swim Show for Wednesday, March 7th 2012. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS monitor today we'll talk to Andrey Seryy. He won three events at the NCAA Division II Swimming Championships last year, and the senior from Wayne State University looks poised to do the same again this year. Andrey joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Detroit. Andrey welcome to The Morning Swim Show. How are you?
Andrey Seryy: Thanks. How are you?
Peter Busch: Good, thank you. I was looking over some of your times – you have 19.3 in the 50 freestyle – these are obviously Division I caliber times, in fact that would be top 8. How did you end up at a smaller Division 2 school?
Andrey Seryy: Well I was pretty old to get in Division I but eventually I think it's not a big difference. I guess our program is pretty competitive and really good. I don't really like when people refer to me as a Division II swimmer. We're all like student athletes. We don't have 50-meter pools, that's the only difference, so I only check my time against all Division times.
Peter Busch: Did you say you were older? Is that what you said at the beginning?
Andrey Seryy: Yes, I think it's 24 years old limit in Division I school. I was 22 years old when I came here so I could swim there only like two years maximum.
Peter Busch: So you're like 26 now?
Andrey Seryy: 25.
Peter Busch: So growing up in Russia – first of all what part of Russia are you from?
Andrey Seryy: Saint Petersburg, it's northwest.
Peter Busch: It's a big city, and you're looking around to come to school in the United States, to learn English, to get a good education but how does that process work where you find a school like Wayne State?
Andrey Seryy: Well I had contact with several other universities but I liked what Sean said. Plus the university is kind of a big school and good education here and I like big cities. My primary concern was that I really liked what Sean said about the program here.
Peter Busch: So you've obviously had great success swimming there. What is something maybe coming over here swimming at that school has taught you about training itself that you didn't have back in Russia?
Andrey Seryy: Well it's absolutely different here because I used to swim twice a day. Here I usually swim only once but we have dryland twice a day. And of course practice at 6, I don't really like it. I used to have like 8 am maybe but not at 6 so that was not a pleasant experience.
Peter Busch: I mentioned in the introduction that you won sort of the triple crown sprinting last year – the 50, 100, and 200 – it goes without saying probably that's the goal again this year?
Andrey Seryy: The goal is to improve my time and that's it. That's the only thing I really want.
Peter Busch: Which one of the races are you feeling most confident about this year?
Andrey Seryy: Probably 100.
Peter Busch: The 100?
Andrey Seryy: Yes.
Peter Busch: Do you have a potential to make the Russian Olympic team?
Andrey Seryy: I definitely will try but there are lots of guys who will do the same. It's a pretty big competition there. Olympic trials are coming in the month after Nationals so I'll be there.
Peter Busch: Russia has certainly got great freestylers right now. They will push the Americans in both freestyle relays in London most likely especially that four by 200 relay. Give me an idea of swimming's place in Russian sports. Is it popular per se or is it kind of like America where every four years it's popular?
Andrey Seryy: It's not popular at all.
Peter Busch: It's not.
Andrey Seryy: Yes, we have only football – I mean soccer – and hockey maybe but swimming is not popular, not at all.
Peter Busch: How do you think they've been so successful? They've had a pretty decent string of Olympic stars and medals, both relays are medal contenders this year.
Andrey Seryy: Well our team is really young and people – they really want to achieve something. They're like young and reckless plus it's pretty good money from the government.
Peter Busch: Explain that – what do you mean pretty good money from the government?
Andrey Seryy: Well if you win something or get medals in European or World Championships, it's pretty substantial grants and scholarships and such. Being an athlete is very beneficial in Russia.
Peter Busch: Is that recent? Have they tried to improve the awards for athletes or has it always been that way?
Andrey Seryy: The last maybe like eight years, five years.
Peter Busch: Ever since the price of oil went up?
Andrey Seryy: Exactly.
Peter Busch: Another Russian native or someone with some Russian background who's going to swim for Russia and trying some for the Olympics is Vlad Morozov. He's from the USC and he's obviously become a superstar in college swimming and he kind of had that unique situation where he wanted to swim for the US because this is where he grew up but he couldn't work out the citizenship in time. Was that news at all in Russia that he will end up swimming for them?
Andrey Seryy: Well actually before last year Russian championship no one heard – so he came here when he was too young that people there never heard about him and his yards time is – yards time in Russia is nothing – like people are only concerned about the 50-meters pool, that's it. So when he came here he made lots of noise. I think he was in the rating only 6 from last year so –
Peter Busch: Yes and again you make a good point just because he's been really fast in college swimming does not mean he's going to make the Olympic team or really be a significant contributor but I'm wondering if he improves a little bit more, makes the team, makes the relays, and really helps make a difference for the Russian team, will they embrace him as one of their own even though he kind of grew up in America and actually wanted to swim for USA Swimming? What do you think?
Andrey Seryy: About people's attitude?
Peter Busch: Yes, I mean will Russians embrace him even though he's more of an American kid at heart.
Andrey Seryy: I actually don't know. I think they don't care.
Peter Busch: As long as he's winning, right?
Andrey Seryy: Yes.
Peter Busch: Tell me about your team and going into Division II championships. What's the team goal?
Andrey Seryy: The team goal is to improve our last year's standing or at least repeat it. So men's team was third and girls were second so we're working on both — get a bit higher.
Peter Busch: Well Andrey good luck in your final meet here, Division II swimming, congratulations on all the success you've had there at Wayne State.
Andrey Seryy: Thank you.
Peter Busch: All right, that's Andrey Seryy joining us in the FINIS monitor today from Detroit and that's it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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