PHOENIX, Arizona, November 2. AMANDA Kendall is on her way to a possible spot on the U.S. Olympic team, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show she talks about her strong performances at the Pan American Games that boosted her odds of making the team.
Kendall is a junior at Louisiana State University, and she talks about the changes the team has experienced recently in terms of coaches, and how she and others have moved on from the transition phase. She also talks about swimming on all three relays in Mexico and how she sees her chances of making the Olympic team shaping up. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)
Peter Busch: Welcome to The Morning Swim Show for Wednesday, November 2nd 2011. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS monitor today we'll talk to Amanda Kendall, a junior at Louisiana State University, just won the 100 free at the Pan-Am Games. Amanda joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hi, Amanda, welcome to The Morning Swim Show. How are you?
Amanda Kendall: Good. Thanks for having me.
Peter Busch: You have had one heck of a break out this past year, haven't you?
Amanda Kendall: It's been pretty crazy, but yes.
Peter Busch: Isn't it funny to look back at where you were last summer, your times and how much you've dropped since then? Two and a half seconds in the 100 long course – that's incredible.
Amanda Kendall: A lot of hard work.
Peter Busch: A lot of hard work. Well what was it about – were you working harder this year than ever or is it just everything's finally coming together?
Amanda Kendall: Well my sophomore year we had a whole new coaching staff coming in and I really think that helped a lot and I'm just working really hard, getting stronger in the weight room, and just setting my goals pretty high.
Peter Busch: Would one of those goals perhaps be a spot on the Olympic team because you're in the conversation now?
Amanda Kendall: Yes, that's definitely a goal of mine.
Peter Busch: That 100 free – I cannot wait to watch that race at Olympic trials next year. I mean it's just a jampacked field but 54 mid is usually what gets you in and you're knocking on that door in the way you're progressing. It could happen.
Amanda Kendall: I hope so. I definitely hope to get more stronger, like I said, and have my times keep dropping.
Peter Busch: Tell me about Guadalajara.
Amanda Kendall: I had so much fun. It was such a great experience being my first international meet and I met so many great people, everyone was so nice, and it was just a really great experience.
Peter Busch: In a way are you glad that your first international meet was one of the less high profile ones – Pan-Am Games and not World Championships for example?
Amanda Kendall: I guess you could say so.
Peter Busch: I don't know. I'm just asking you the question. I could imagine maybe that's a way to get your feet wet on the international stage but not that you would – oh, there's the tiger paw – your mascot just made an appearance on The Morning Swim Show.
Amanda Kendall: No, I mean going to the Pan-Am's, being my first international meet, was exciting. Any international meet I would have gone to would have been but I guess having it be the Pan-Am's was less nerve-wracking but I was still just as nervous for the races.
Peter Busch: And you won three golds –
Amanda Kendall: Four.
Peter Busch: Four – I'm sorry – four gold medals in your first international meet, not many people get to say that, Amanda.
Amanda Kendall: It was definitely really exciting being on the relays with all of my teammates and all the relays broke records, so it was just an awesome experience and I wouldn't take it back or trade anything at all.
Peter Busch: Are you going to approach this collegiate year the same way you would have knowing that Olympics are now more of a possibility than they were maybe a few months ago? Are you still going to focus in March, do everything you need to do for the NCAA season and then move on to training for the Olympic Trials?
Amanda Kendall: Yes. The only thing I'm doing differently is since Pan-Am's was such a random time in October I'm going to train through the mid-season in right now but I'm still going to prepare just the same as I would for SEC's and NCAA's.
Peter Busch: SEC's, NCAA's in general – you're in that conversation now too. Do you have a national title set? Are your eyes set on a national title?
Amanda Kendall: I want to do as well as I can and get those titles to bring home to my team and get as many points as possible.
Peter Busch: LSU in general, and you mentioned the coaching change, they've had some rough years swimming-wise. What do you think now? Is the team getting some traction in the SCC which is a very tough conference or is it still going to take a while?
Amanda Kendall: I definitely think last year's SEC's people started to notice us and that was really exciting because it's like "Yes, we're in your conference too." I don't know. I hope after this year and as more years to come that people are going to start realizing that LSU is a really competitive program just like all the other ones and we're going to shine.
Peter Busch: How did you pick LSU?
Amanda Kendall: I love the team atmosphere, the spirit. I just felt like everything was what I needed to be and I just fell in love with it and knew this is where I needed to be.
Peter Busch: Were you heavily recruited out of high school?
Amanda Kendall: No, not very much, not as big as some other people probably but I just came to LSU and didn't go anywhere else. Like I said I knew this is where I wanted to be.
Peter Busch: Well we'll chalk you up for one of those late bloomers, diamond in a rough swimmers that just turned out to be a lot faster than people realized.
Amanda Kendall: I hope so.
Peter Busch: It's fun. Those are fun stories to watch develop. Well Amanda, again, it's been an amazing past 12 months for you and we hope that you have continued success.
Amanda Kendall: Thank you.
Peter Busch: And say hi to your tiger friend back there. I imagine there's just a little bit of excitement around campus right now with the big Alabama football game coming up.
Amanda Kendall: Yes, it's pretty crazy around here. We're all really excited.
Peter Busch: The tailgating's probably already started. Just have them stop by the swim meet too from time to time.
Amanda Kendall: We will.
Peter Busch: All right, thanks a lot, Amanda.
Amanda Kendall: Thank you.
Peter Busch: All right, that's Amanda Kendall and her mascot friend joining us in the FINIS monitor today. 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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