Q&A with Zach Kohl
Junior Zach Kohl and the Virginia swimming teams conclude the fall semester with the UVa Invitational Thursday through Saturday at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. Kohl, a native of Mohnton, Pa., recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the upcoming meet, where he spends most of his time and his career goals.
Question: How was your Thanksgiving?
Kohl: It was great; I got to see my family and friends, and got in the pool of course.
Question: How would you describe the season so far?
Kohl: Team-wise we had a little bit of bumps in the road but overall I think now we have realized what we need to do as a team. We are really going to bare down and focus on the things we need to accomplish to reach our end-of-season goals.
Question: How about you personally?
Kohl: I’m doing pretty well compared to how I was coming in my first year. In my second year I feel like I progressed a lot, especially in the weight room, which has helped my swimming a lot. I am happy with how I am swimming so far, progressing toward my goals for this meet and further down the road come ACCs.
Question: What is the mentality heading into the weekend?
Kohl: Simply to swim fast. I want to be faster than this point last year. As a team we came out strong against Penn State so we need to keep up that intensity. We have had some rest so it should be a fast meet.
Question: How did you get started swimming?
Kohl: I started swimming when I was six but I don’t remember exactly what first initiated it; probably just playing around at the community pool over the summer. Then I learned there was an age group swim team through my school district. So I started doing that and I played a lot of other sports too. I took a summer off or a year when I was about 10 but after that I stuck with it. I played water polo too so that was a balance between water sports. But I just kept swimming.
Question: What are the best and hardest parts about being a sprinter?
Kohl: The best part is definitely that the events are short – a quick burst of energy. That’s what I like and I think my body type is more respondent to that part of it. I like sprinting; it fits my style. The hardest part about being a sprinter is just the aspect of a perfect race and how if its not perfect it really is a huge detriment as opposed to a longer race where you have more time to make up and fix some things. That’s what’s good about it – you can focus on the technical elements. When you do get it right you get a great result.
Question: What is your favorite event to swim?
Kohl: Definitely the 200 free relay. I get way more psyched up to swim relay events than to swim individual races. It’s cool when you have three other people counting on you to swim fast too.
Question: What made you want to come to UVa?
Kohl: I definitely looked for academics first and I really liked the engineering program, but then for the swim team as well, I was really impressed with the team aspect and I fit in with the guys. I thought they were a really good group of people and I like having that team aspect because I had it in high school, but then toward my senior year, it just dissolved a little bit. It wasn’t a full, cohesive team anymore, so I’m glad I had a chance to come back to that again.
Question: What are your career goals?
Kohl: I don’t know if I had engineering in mind my whole life, but I was never really a big English person. So I decided on civil engineering because I like the aspect of bridges and designing things. I want to work with bridges – whether it is more of a firm that does mostly bridge design or something else.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Kohl: I play the drums. There are a bunch of guys on the team that play guitar, so we have jam sessions. Sometimes free time is kind of hard to come by during the year but I just like to relax and hang out with friends.
Question: What is your favorite spot on Grounds?
Kohl: I guess a lot of people say the Lawn or the Rotunda, which I’m not really around a lot. I’ve been down there and I like that area even though I don’t have classes I it. I don’t know if I have one specific spot. I am most around the engineering school, which is sort of depressing, because that means it’s all school.