Q&A with Claire Crippen
Sophomore Claire Crippen and the Virginia women’s swimming and diving team will defend their Atlantic Coast Conference championship this week when the annual league meet is held in College Park, Md. Each day the finals will be broadcast live free on the Internet at ACC Select. Crippen recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to chat about her swimming family, which includes older siblings Maddy (who swam at Villanova), Fran (who swam at Virginia) and younger sister Teresa (who currently swims at Florida), what she likes to do for fun, how she describes her personality and her where her favorite place is to study.
Question: Are you ready for the ACC Championships?
Crippen: Yes, I am really excited. It should be a lot of fun.
Question: How will this year be different than last year, when it was your first conference meet?
Crippen: Last year I went into the meet not knowing what to expect. This year I am more confident going into it, and I think our entire team is that way. We know where we stand and we know what we have to do in order to get another ACC championship. Having more upperclassmen this year will help first-years’ confidence.
Question: How have you individually changed since this time last season?
Crippen: The whole way I approach my races is completely different. Last year I went into every race not knowing how I was going to do. Last year was my last season swimming short course; I never really did it in high school. But the way I mentally approach every race is different.
Question: What was it like growing up in a swimming family like yours?
Crippen: I got started basically because we owned a shore house on the bay. My parents wanted us to be water safe and my older sister loved it and continued to stick with it. All of us just followed her footsteps. We have all found success in it. My younger sister and I were always competitive growing up and pushing each other, so it was different when I came here.
Question: What was it like swimming against her this year?
Crippen: It was so weird! Mark (Bernardino) and Chip (Kline) were standing on deck, we were swimming the 500 freestyle. Teresa and Jen Narum were swimming next to each other, battling it out. I was cheering: Go Teresa! Go Jen! Completely forgetting that she wasn’t on my team. Mark and Chip both turned to me and asked me if I knew she swam for Florida. It was weird for me to be her opponent but I obviously wanted her to do well. It was fun to see her, just weird to look across the deck and see her in a different suit and cap.
Question: What made you want to come to Virginia?
Crippen: It was funny. I didn’t really want to come here because of Fran. I wanted to be my own person. We all went to the same high school and had the same club coach. I brought that up with Mark on my recruiting trip. He said to me, “Claire, I don’t have the time or the energy to remember past swimmers and compare you to them. I put all of my energy into my kids that are on deck now.” That is when I thought, ok, I can be my own person here.
Question: What is your favorite event to swim?
Crippen: I guess the 400 IM. I like trying different events during the season but at the end of the season I really enjoy the 400 IM.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Crippen: I got this new toy for my birthday called the Indo Board. It is this surfing balance-board type of thing. It’s pretty fun and it takes my mind off of school. I recently got into iChatting with my sister so we do that a lot.
Question: What are you thinking about majoring in?
Crippen: Probably psychology and I am still debating whether I want to do the education school.
Question: What do you want to do after you graduate?
Crippen: I want to be around little kids some how. I am leaning towards teaching, but that changes. Luckily I have a lot of time to decide.
Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
Crippen: I really enjoyed personal development and I really like personality psychology.
Question: If you had to analyze your own personality, how would you describe it?
Crippen: I am an easy-going person. I take things as they come and don’t really look too far in advance. I really have no idea. The other night I was trying to write something for an application, and I was thinking about how bad I am when it comes to talking about myself.
Question: What is your favorite spot on Grounds?
Crippen: I think I am going to have to say the Corner, especially on football gamedays when everyone is on the Corner. I think that is awesome. And I really like Starbucks. Amanda (Faulkner) and I go there every Sunday and study.