Gostanford.com checks in with Norwegian Eirik Ravnan, a junior and member of the Norwegian National team. He reached the A or B Finals at Pac-10s in both individual medleys this past year and was sixth in the 400 IM at the conference meet in March.
Why did you decide to swim for Stanford in the United States, being from Norway? I searched all over the world to find a place where I could combine athletics and academics and found that Stanford is the best place for that. It is an excellent school and has a great swim team.
- As an Academic All-Pac-10 selection, tell us about how you balance academics and athletics here at Stanford. The days tend to be rather packed with practice twice a day and school in between, but I tend to use my Sundays as diligently as possible in order to have some more time during the week. I have tried to be productive on the Saturdays too, but I have generally found it better to use that day as a break and then use all of Sunday.
- Looking back on your freshman season in 2008-2009, compared to now, going into your senior season. How have things changed? What have you learned over that time? I have definitely learned the value of technique in swimming although I still have quite a ways to go on that, My main improvements are due to my changes in technique since I have always been fairly strong. Apart from that I have also learned the importance of team spirit.
- What is the hardest leg to swim? There are many legs that are hard and they are hard in different ways. I definitely think the 800 and 1500 freestyle is hard both to swim and to pace yourself, compared to other events. I have also always had trouble swimming well on the 200 and 400 free since I find it hard to pace myself in a way that is neither too hard or too easy in the beginning.
- Growing up in Norway, and talking with your American teammates, how are things different in the two countries in regards to swimming? Things are definitely different, especially since Norway is fairly small and a lot of the coaches use similar coaching techniques. There is less focus on kicking and on the team aspect of the sport here; in Norway it becomes more of a coach to athlete relationship and not as much of a coach to team relationship.
- In high school you were very accomplished, being a 2006 Nordic junior champion and Norwegian junior champion in the 400 IM, swimming in the World Cup for Norway in 2007, being a 2008 Norwegian champion in the 400 IM and 200 back. Being so young, did you fully comprehend the magnitude of your success? Yes, in fact I was getting rather tired of the success back home since I knew all the time that there were better people out there to race. Swimming at Stanford, it has given me a greater degree of competition and matching than I could dream of.
- What is your pre-meet routine? I usually run until I start sweating which is rather unusual in swimming since most swimmers hate running, but I find it the best way to get my legs warmed up and it is nice to get away from the pool deck for a little while. Another thing I usually do right before my races is to scream rather loudly since it makes me feel hungry for a victory and it takes the focus of my opponents away, either by scaring them or making them laugh.
- Best memory of your Stanford swimming experience so far? My best memory is definitely watching the last relay against Cal this season, awin, which led us to the dual victory.
- What are you looking forward to about your senior season in 2011-2012? I am looking forward to yet another year with this amazing team and to do my best ever to help our team reach its goals.