June 20, 2011
Stanford swimming has long been known to swim internationally, and this summer is no different.
Bobby Bollier (U.S) Geoff Cheah (Hong Kong), Curtis Lovelace (U.S.) David Mosko (U.S.) Eirik Ravnan (Norway), Matthew Swanston (Canada) and Michael Zoldos (Canada) are all slated to swim at the World University Games in China from August 14-19 for their respective countries. At the world championships from July 16 to 31, current distance ace, Chad La Tourette, along with graduates-- Jason and David Dunfords (Kenya), Tobias Oriwol (Canada) and Marcus Rogan (Austria), will all swim.
Previous International Q and A's: Bollier | Cheah | Lovelace | Mosko | Ravnan | Zoldos | Swanston
Gostanford.com checks in with Canadian distance swimmer Michael Zoldos, who was third to teammate Chad La Tourette in the 1650 free at Pac-10s and ranked No. 20 nationally in the 500 free, creating a solid 1-2 distance punch for the Cardinal this past season.
In 2011, Stanford swimming won its 30th consecutive Pac-10 title. What was it like to compete for Stanford knowing that your school had such a run that it wanted to continue? Did you feel much pressure?
It is definitely an honor to be part of the Stanford Men's Swimming program. Thirty consecutive titles is an accomplishment that exemplifies the tradition of excellence that is embodied by the team. The months of training and hard work prepare the team for optimal performance. The pressure you feel is to contribute to the team and help the team achieve another title (year after year).
As a member of the Canadian National Team, having grown up in Arizona, tell us about your Canadian Citizenship. Did you move from Canada recently? Are your parents Canadian?
I have always lived in the United States. My parents moved to New Orleans from Canada so that my dad could complete a residency program - after a second residency and fellowship they decided that we would stay. I was born in New Orleans and at the age of 11 we finally settled in Arizona. Although I compete for the Canadian National Team, I have never lived in Canada.
Tell us about competing at International meets for Canada. What is the Canadian training schedule like and have you talked with fellow Canadians (and Stanford affiliated swimmers) Matthew Swanston and Paul Kornfeld about their training and time commitments?
My experiences in competing for Canada have been memorable. Being teammates with Paul and Matthew has made the competitions more enjoyable. My experience with training is different because my home is in the US. I travel to Canada for competitions in the spring and summer but return to the US to train whereas Paul and Matthew live and train in Canada.
In that 2011 Pac-10 championship, you placed third in the 1650 free, 11th in the 400 IM, and 7th in the 500 free. Talk about your success and any frustration with your finishes throughout your career?
I was happy with my swims at Pac-10's but I know that there is definitely room for improvement. I am working with the coaches to make some changes to my stroke. Hopefully these changes will result in improvements in my performance.
Having competed at both NCAA's and Pac-10's, describe the differences in one meet compared to the other.
Pac-10's has to be the fastest conference meet in the country. Every year Stanford and Cal battle it out for the title - the meet is a dogfight. NCAA's is an extremely fast and highly competitive, where the pressure to perform is very high. At NCAA's the competition is intense and there are always 3 - 5 schools in contention. The biggest difference is that the field at NCAA's is very deep and there is always at least one or two swimmers who disrupt the expected results.
What's it like swimming with your teammates -- what do they mean to you? How do you feed off each other during competition?
My teammates are very important to me - they are like my brothers. Our shared experiences have resulted in us developing friendships that will last long after we finish swimming and graduate from school. The members of the team push each other to be better. Seeing one of your friends step up inspires everyone else to try and do the same.
As a freestyler, what are some tips that you have been given by the coaching staff that makes for a good long distance swimmer?
One of the tips I have been given that I continue to work on is to focus on my body position. Optimal body position minimizes overall resistance and is of particular importance in distance races. The mile is hard enough without the additional drag caused by poor technique.
What are you looking to do in your 2011-2012 season?
It is hard to believe that next season will be my senior year and my last year of eligibility. I am hopeful that changes with my stroke might help me with a breakthrough that would allow me to make a significant contribution to the team.
-- compiled by Stacey Kilpatrick