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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Q&A;: Catching up with Nymeyer

    Editor’s Note: The Arizona Daily Wildcat caught up with former Wildcat swimmer Lacey Nymeyer to discuss her experience at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Nymeyer discussed her interactions with fellow U.S. swimmers Michael Phelps and Dara Torres, the coolest part about the Olympic Village and what was going through her mind after she helped her squad capture the silver medal in the women’s 4×100-meter relay.

    Wildcat: Aside from winning a silver medal, what was the best part?

    Lacey Nymeyer: Just staying in the Olympic Village was really cool. When we ate in the meal hall we were all able to sit next to athletes from all different countries and interact with them. The whole experience was just awesome because you’re sitting there with the best athletes in the world. I mean, it’s not just swimming. These are the greatest athletes at every sport. It was just so cool to be a part of it all.

    W: Did you get a chance to meet Michael Phelps?

    LN: (Laughs) Yes, I did. He was a really nice guy. It was awesome to meet somebody who accomplished what he did because we might not ever see (somebody win eight gold medals in one Olympic Games) again. He was a cool guy, but he was also very intense but I guess you have to be if you’re as good as he is.

    W: What did you and Dara Torres talk about?

    LN: It was nice to talk to Dara about anything. We talked about swimming but we also talked a lot about just life stuff. She has a 2-year-old daughter and it was cool to get a different perspective on swimming from her because of her being older than everybody else.

    W: What was the coolest part about staying in the Olympic Village?

    LN: Everything. (Laughs) The way it was set up, each country had their own little tower where the athletes lived and we were able to hang out with athletes from South Africa and Venezuela and from all kind of other countries across the world. Just everything about being in Beijing and taking part in the Olympic Games was amazing.

    W: What kind of interaction did you have with some of the other UA Olympians?

    LN: I was able to talk with them some, but not a whole lot. I saw (Venezuelan swimmer Albert Subirats and South African swimmer Darian Townsend) and some of the other ones around the Village, and sometimes when we were all eating, but really all we were doing when we were in Beijing was eating or preparing for our competitions.

    W: What did it mean to you to become the first Mormon to win an Olympic medal?

    LN: I hold my faith very close to my heart and it was such an honor to compete in the Olympic Games not only for myself and my country, but as a member of my religion, too. It’s such a big part of my life and I think that because of my faith it really helped me to appreciate my experiences at the Games so much more.

    W: Were you even aware that you had the chance to make history?

    LN: No, actually I wasn’t. I wasn’t focused on any of that sort of thing, I was just trying to go out there and swim as fast and as well as I could.

    W: What kind of stuff did you and UA swimming head coach Frank Busch, who was also an assistant coach on the USA swim team, talk about when you were both in Beijing?

    LN: It was nice to have a friendly face cheering me on in the pool. We were able to talk about all sorts of things, and not even all of it was about swimming. We talked about a lot of things about life and that sort of thing. Basically, he helped me focus on my races because really it was just another race.

    W: I don’t know about that. I don’t think I would go that far. I mean, it is the Olympic Games and all.

    LN: Yeah, but it’s still just eight lanes in one pool and you race against the clock. It’s really not that different at all. The only thing is there are just better athletes and the stakes are a little higher than normal.

    W: What was going through your mind when you were on the medal stand?

    LN: Honestly, I was just trying to find my parents. I was looking to see where they were in the stands. I was just kind of trying to soak it all in.

    W: It’s kind of been a whirlwind for you after winning the NCAA championship last semester and then training for the Olympics, making the team, going off to the Olympics. Now you finally got back at the end of last week, so what’s next for you?

    LN: Well I have two semesters left of school so hopefully I can graduate in May. I’ll be training a lot because the U.S. will be getting a team together for next year’s World Championships in Rome. I don’t think I’ll be racing very much, but I know I’ll be still be training throughout the year.

    W: Will it be kind of a regular student’s life now?

    LN: (Laughs) No, not really. I’ll just be trying to finish up with school and stay in shape and train hard and take swimming one year at a time and I’ll stay with it as long as I still enjoy it.

    W: So is it still too early to look forward to the 2012 London Games?

    LN: (Laughs) I think so. We’ll see what happens as I train this year for the Worlds and then I guess we’ll see where I go from there.

    – Brian Kimball is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

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