The Morning Swim Show, Nov. 9, 2011: Andrea Kropp on Moving to USC and Olympic Team Potential

PHOENIX, Arizona, November 9. ANDREA Kropp is one to watch at the U.S. Olympic Trials, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show, she talks about how transferring to the University of Southern California will help her reach her goal of making the Olympic team.

Kropp, who is third-fastest in the country, and talks about the strategy she's hoping will get her on the Olympic team. She also talks about the reasons why she's transferring from Princeton to Southern California. 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 9th, 2011. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS Monitor today we'll talk to Andrea Kropp. She was a silver medalist at this year's World University Games. Andrea joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Santa Clarita, California. Hi. Andrea. Welcome to the Morning Swim Show. How are you?

Andrea Kropp: I'm great. How are you?

Peter Busch: Good. And you're at the swim shop where I hear you work at?

Andrea Kropp: That's right.

Peter Busch: Very nice. Can't get enough with the swimming in and out of the pool?

Andrea Kropp: Seriously. This is, like, this is a great job for me just because, obviously, I've been swimming so many years, so I pretty much have firsthand experience with all the different types of swim wear and stuff.

Peter Busch: Well, the way you're going you might be on one of those posters in the shop pretty soon.

Andrea Kropp: Hopefully. That'd be great.

Peter Busch: So, a little background on you. You grew up in Southern California, but for college you, initially, you wanted to Princeton, right?

Andrea Kropp: Mhm.

Peter Busch: And you did, just wanting to get out of, you know, the place you grew up.

Andrea Kropp: Well, I actually was born on the East Coast. I was born in Connecticut and I moved here when I was eight and so, I — all of my family's on the East Coast, my — both my grandparents and all my cousins and everything, so it wasn't that much of a change, I guess. And I thought it kind of a novelty, so to speak, because I always knew that I wanted to come back to L.A for the rest of my life pretty much and my career. So I figured that it would be kind of just a unique experience and kind of getting out in the Southern California swimming scene.

Peter Busch: Well you've completed that circle. You've transferred or you're going to transfer to USC. Did it just not work at Princeton?

Andrea Kropp: I would say I like the East Coast, but I would say it was more not really the location of USC. It was just the overall quality of the school and of the athletic experience there that drew me back more so than the location.

Peter Busch: Yeah, your sights are a little bit more higher now. I mean you've got certainly Olympic potential and no better place right now to train with great breaststrokers than at USC.

Andrea Kropp: Definitely.

Peter Busch: What is — you're not technically there yet though, right? And you're taking the semester off?

Andrea Kropp: No, I'm not. I'm gonna be starting in the spring semester. So I'll just jump right in there but I'll be redshirting. So I'll start actually competing for USC in the fall semester.

Peter Busch: What are you doing in the meantime other than working at the swim shop?

Andrea Kropp: Just training. I'm taking a couple classes at the local community colleges just for fun and to stay sort of focused academically, so I – it won't be too rush — too much of a rough transfer when I get back.

Peter Busch: You go from Princeton to a community college?

Andrea Kropp: Yeah. It's a little different that's for sure.

Peter Busch: Not quite as intense in the classroom I imagine.

Andrea Kropp: No, not quite.

Peter Busch: Let's talk about your swimming. You are third in the country right now in the 200 breaststroke. I'm really looking forward to that 200 breaststroke. We know we have Soni and she might break a world record next year. But that spot, that second spot, is pretty wide open. I imagine that's pretty motivating to you.

Andrea Kropp: Oh, it's definitely a great motivation every time in practice it gets tough. I just think, you know, I really have a great chance of making the team, and that's kind of what's been pushing me through everything.

Peter Busch: Is there a favorite in your eyes for that spot or is it — I mean, Amanda Beard, I don't wanna bet against because she's obviously been there, done that. But you're the one who's surging right now.

Andrea Kropp: I wouldn't say that there's any clear favorite. I think it just comes down to who has the best race, who is the most mentally focused, and just ready to go the day of the race at Olympic Trials.

Peter Busch: What's your strategy with the 200 breaststroke?

Andrea Kropp: What I like to do is take it out pretty slow or pretty smooth and easy in the first 50 because it takes me a long time to get moving. I'm definitely not — I'm trying to work on developing my fast switch muscles more than I have so far. But it kinda takes me a while to get going and the back half my race is definitely the strength of my race especially the third 50. So what I've been working on is trying to utilize that but also in my training what I'm working on is trying to develop the first hundred as well.

Peter Busch: So it may be — you might be a body length behind or so at the 100 but look for you to make your move on that third 50.

Andrea Kropp: That third 50.

Peter Busch: Is it — what if you're in first at the 100, is that good or bad?

Andrea Kropp: That's good because I've been doing this race for so long. I — it kinda feels, like, just kind of the usual to me. And so if I'm ahead at the first hundred, I know that I still I'm in control because I wouldn't let myself get ahead of myself even because of all my international experience in racing at high tension meets. I kind of know not to push myself the first hundred. So if I am ahead at the first hundred, it's great. I don't have any problem with that.

Peter Busch: Yeah, you mentioned some of that international experience. You did some World Cup meets in Europe, Moscow, Berlin. What is it like going to those meets?

Andrea Kropp: Oh, it really is just the best experience ever. I'm so glad that USA Swimming has this year provided the 18 and under, the kind of the fastest 18 and unders with the opportunity to go — or go swim at the World Cup just because what I would say is that's different from what I did at the World Cup as supposed to, say, Junior Pan Pacs or World University Games, which I went to over the summer and last summer, is that I wasn't really focused only on my best event which kind of was very different for me in international competition beyond what I've done so far.

Peter Busch: Not focusing on your best event or you like just being able to focus on that best event?

Andrea Kropp: Well, I'll — it's nice both ways I would say. I like being able to focus just on of my best event in terms of, say, at Olympic trials where even though I will be swimming other events, the 200 breast obviously is my main focus. But, on the other hand, take college meets for example which I will be starting in the fall, you don't have time to just focus on one event because you wanna be a well-rounded swimmer and score a lot of points with the team. So I think just having the opportunity to do both internationally so far has been really great.

Peter Busch: So you're training straight through into Trials or do you expect to do a shave and taper meet in between?

Andrea Kropp: I'm gonna come down a little bit on my training before nationals, not much, but than just go straight through the Trials.

Peter Busch: Good luck. It's gonna be a fun next eight months or so.

Andrea Kropp: Thank you.

Peter Busch: All right, that's Andrea Kropp joining us in the FINIS Monitor today from Southern California. 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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