PHOENIX, Arizona, September 22. LAURA Barito is a finalist for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show she talks about the accomplishments that helped her earn the honor.
Besides being a fast swimmer, Barito's excellence in sport extended to the track, and she talks about how she got into track, as well as winning NCAA titles in swimming and track, and what's she is up to since graduating from Stevens Institute of Technology. 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: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, September 22nd, 2011. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS monitor today we'll talk to Laura Barito. She was a swimmer at the Stevens Institute in New Jersey. She's now a finalist for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Laura Barito joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Newark, Delaware. Laura, welcome to the Mornings Swim Show. How are you?
Laura Barito: Hi. I'm good. How are you?
Peter Busch: Now, I intentionally left out at the intro that you weren't just a swimmer, you also run track and field, correct?
Laura Barito: That's right.
Peter Busch: And you won the D3 National Championship in the 50 free and the 400 meter hurdles in the same year.
Laura Barito: Yup.
Peter Busch: Who says swimmers can't do anything outside of the water. Congratulations.
Laura Barito: Thank you.
Peter Busch: That is incredible. How — which one was your first sport?
Laura Barito: Definitely swimming. I've been swimming since I was a little kid and year round since I was in high school. So I just started running track in college.
Peter Busch: Just in college?
Laura Barito: It's a Division Three school, Stevens is, and you're not allowed to train with your coach in your offseason, so I picked up track pretty much to stay in shape for swimming.
Peter Busch: Are you kidding me? You're just that naturally good at track that you can just pick it up in the summer and…?
Laura Barito: I wasn't at first. I only started hurdling my freshman year and it took me, you know, a good couple of years. This past year is only the first I qualified and made it to nationals. So it took me a lot to get good at it.
Peter Busch: Well, you're a sprinter, so you've obviously got kind of the sprint genes, do the 50 free.
Laura Barito: Right.
Peter Busch: How did you add the hurdling? I mean, what that your choice?
Laura Barito: Well, not really. The 400 hurdles is probably one of the harder races in track. I mean, my coach, when he met me the first time when I said I wanted to run track, he basically looked at how tall I was and said you're running hurdles. So I didn't have much say in the matter. Peter Busch: You're from Arkansas originally, correct?
Laura Barito: Right.
Peter Busch: How did you wind up at the Stevens Institute in New Jersey?
Laura Barito: I was looking for an engineering school with a good swim program and really, Trevor Miele, the head coach was the only coach that recruited me to any swim team, so, basically, he got me to go there. He pitched a good deal.
Peter Busch: Looks like you made the right call.
Laura Barito: I did.
Peter Busch: And track is probably buying him dinner every single night of the week thanking him for it.
Laura Barito: Probably.
Peter Busch: Do you consider continuing with either sport or both?
Laura Barito: I'm actually training right now for the Olympic trials. I'm training with the University of Delaware swim team here and I'm helping coach their sport program. So it's a nice combo.
Peter Busch: Very nice. Now, we have to mention because you're up to this award, the Woman of the Year, obviously, you're a very good student as well. You're working on your Masters in Mechanical Engineering right now.
Laura Barito: Ph.D.
Peter Busch: Ph.D. My bad. Like I said she's smart. Well, I know there are a lot of different ways you can go with that. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Laura Barito: I'm not really sure right now. I'm doing research on cartilage, knee cartilage and osteoarthritis, so really this research could take me somewhere but I've always thought that it'd be kind of cool thing to be professor that — you know, in engineering school you don't really have a lot of good experiences with professors a lot of the time, so it'd be — I would have passion for teaching and it'd be good to have — you know, for some kids to have a good engineering professor.
Peter Busch: Well, you're one of four women in aquatic sports out of the nine finalist for this award. It's very impressive that they keep selecting women from swimming and diving, the other aquatic sports. Just great to the recognition, huh?
Laura Barito: Yeah.
Peter Busch: Well, congratulations, and good luck at the big award ceremony coming up.
Laura Barito: Thank you.
Peter Busch: All right. That's Laura Barito joining us from the University of Delaware. I wanna mention the other three ladies up for that award. This is a very prestigious award, NCAA Woman of the Year. The others are Hayley Emerick, a diver at Trinity, and Kelsey Ward, a swimmer — excuse me — a swimmer a Drury. We're gonna have them both on the show next week. The fourth person up for it, Annie Chandler, trying to become the fourth out of five University of Arizona females to win the award in the past five years. So we will have them all on the show and we hope you enjoy it. All right, 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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