PHOENIX, Arizona, March 9. INDIANA senior Allysa Vavra joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show less than a week before competing in her final NCAA championships.
Vavra talks about the races she'll swim in Auburn, including the 400 IM, in which she will attempt to reach her goal of breaking the four-minute barrier. She also looks back on the Big 10 championships, her experience at the Pan American Games and why she transferred to Indiana from the University of Virginia. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Peter Busch: Welcome to The Morning Swim Show for Friday, March 9th 2012. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS monitor today we'll talk to Allysa Vavra. The Indiana University senior is one of the best IMers in college swimming right now and she's getting ready for the NCAA Championships. Allysa joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Bloomington, Indiana. Hi Allysa, welcome to The Morning Swim Show. How are you?
Allysa Vavra: Hi. I'm good. How are you?
Peter Busch: Good. Congratulations on some recent great swimming – 4.01 in the 400IM.
Allysa Vavra: Thanks. That was kind of unexpected because I went into Big 10s unrested and unshaved, and you know it was kind of just more of a team battle than an individual thing, so if I won best times it was kind of a bonus.
Peter Busch: Well, sometimes we swim our fast when we least expect it.
Allysa Vavra: You're right.
Peter Busch: That's got to give you some hope though that breaking four minutes is doable.
Allysa Vavra: Yes, I mean that's been one of my goals for the past couple years. I think it was — in retrospect it's probably best that I didn't taper for Big 10s so I can just give it my all at NCAAs and see how it goes.
Peter Busch: It's going to take a sub-four minute swim the way it's shaping up this year to even have a shot at the title. I guess you picked the wrong year to just be a great 400IMer, not like a historic 400IMer because between Elizabeth Beisel, Katinka Hosszu, Caitlin Leverenz it's going to be probably the fastest year in the history of that event.
Allysa Vavra: I don't know, I really can't count myself out of that but my goal is just to go under four minutes and if that happens great and whatever place that happens to get me is also really good so I think as long as I go under four minutes I will be pleased with how I swim.
Peter Busch: Well put, and I like the confidence. We definitely will not count you out of that race. Sometimes it's weird that people swim faster at the conference meets. Julia Smit set her 3:58 not at the NCAA Championships if my memory serves me correctly, sometimes you get to that big meet it's all just about racing so it could happen for sure.
Allysa Vavra: Yes, I'm really excited to go to NC's especially to get out of the Indiana weather and to go to some 85-degree weather would be kind of nice for a week.
Peter Busch: What? You mean you haven't got a great tan in Indiana this winter?
Allysa Vavra: If you count the tanning bed then yes.
Peter Busch: Well you're from Pennsylvania so it's not that big of a change, is it?
Allysa Vavra: No, actually it's warmer here than it is at home. It snows a lot more at home and here it really hasn't snowed at all this year which is kind of nice and the past couple of weeks it's been – we've had quite a few days we're in like the 60s so hopefully it stays like that.
Peter Busch: You transferred to Indiana, correct?
Allysa Vavra: Yes, I transferred from UVA.
Peter Busch: Okay, why? It just didn't work out at Virginia?
Allysa Vavra: No, not really. I just didn't really get along with the team so I just wanted to choose something that was more for me and I gave Ray a call and ended up taking a trip here and liking it so here I am.
Peter Busch: Well it seems to have worked out pretty well.
Allysa Vavra: Yes, this is probably the best situation I could have asked for in training. Ray individualizes not only my training but everyone else's to benefit each individual person so I think that especially because I do a lot of distance swimming here it definitely helps with the types of events that I do.
Peter Busch: Well the team has gotten more and more competitive. In fact a couple of weeks ago at Big 10s you guys could have easily won that meet. It was almost because some of the divers weren't there and chose to go compete at a meet in Europe that you guys didn't beat Minnesota.
Allysa Vavra: Yes, it was a little bit disappointing that the divers weren't there but we can't just all rely on them. It was a really tough meet but I think that really set everyone up for a better NCAAs because we're more motivated to do well. People are disappointed that we've lost but I think in the years to come people are going to fight a lot harder at Big 10s.
Peter Busch: You went to Pan-Am's last summer, correct?
Allysa Vavra: I went in October.
Peter Busch: What did getting that international experience do for you?
Allysa Vavra: I think it really set me up well for a trials type atmosphere because in Mexico I guess I don't know if swimming's that big there but the stands were packed every night and I was fortunate enough to swim on the first day of the meet so there literally was not a seat to be had in the place and it was loud and exciting so I think like having that pressure on me and performing under pressure is really important especially going into trials.
Peter Busch: Did I see you were valedictorian in high school?
Allysa Vavra: Yes, I was.
Peter Busch: That's excellent, nothing to be ashamed of for sure.
Allysa Vavra: It's funny because I got made fun after that here because not many people know.
Peter Busch: Have you kept up the straight A's in college?
Allysa Vavra: I wouldn't say straight A's but I have good grades. I'm a Bio major so it's really hard to balance swimming and school but I make it happen.
Peter Busch: What do you want to do when you're done with swimming?
Allysa Vavra: I plan on going to grad school and then to med school from there so I'll be in school for a really long time.
Peter Busch: Great, well enjoy your senior year, good luck at NCAAs, and thank you so much for joining us.
Allysa Vavra: Thank you for having me.
Peter Busch: All right, that's Allysa Vavra joining us from Indiana University today. 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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