Q&A with Eric Olesen
Senior Eric Olesen and the Virginia swimming and diving teams continue competition this week with two ACC dual meets on the road. The Cavaliers swim at Duke at 5 p.m. Friday night before taking on rival North Carolina on Saturday. The men’s meet against the Tar Heels will begin at noon while the women will swim at 3 p.m. Olesen recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to chat about training last week in Florida, the UNC-UVA rivalry and his interest in the oil industry.
Question: How was Florida?
Olesen: It was tough training, but it was good. I think we all came together as a team. Adversity brings people together. The meet against Florida State went really well. We showed that we can still swim fast when we are tired, which bodes well for when we rested.
Question: What does swimming against UNC mean to you, being one of the greatest rivalries in college swimming?
Olesen: It’s one of the most exciting weeks of the year and I always have my best dual meet of the year against UNC. It’s a great chance to step up and race against a team you really don’t like. Being my last year, I really want to go out on top. We lost there (at North Carolina) my second year. It would be awesome to go there and win.
Question: Is it going to be challenging having to race Friday night at Duke and then turn around and swim on Saturday at UNC?
Olesen: I think it’s better because racing is a little bit easier than practice. We will be able to sharpen our skills and work on some speed.
Question: Will you have an advantage come ACCs swimming at UNC since it will host the conference championships?
Olesen: It takes a little while to get used to a facility like that since it’s older than some of the other pools in the conference. It will be good experience to see their home crowd and what the pressure is like. This will probably be the most pressure-packed meet we will swim all year, compared to Tennessee and Florida, because it’s in-conference.
Question: What is your favorite event to swim?
Olesen: The 50 butterfly. It’s not long enough to hurt. It’s a fun “get-out-and-race” event. You don’t have to think about tempo or pace.
Question: What is the hardest part of being a backstroker?
Olesen: Kicking underwater. It is such a strain on your legs and your lungs that when you are done, you are just exhausted. The hardest part for me is doing the 100 back individually and then 20 minutes later doing the medley relay at ACCs. This year I will probably swim the 100 fly too so that will be three events that night. It will be interesting to see how it goes but I am confident in my training.
Question: Looking back, what are you most proud of over the course of your career at UVa?
Olesen: My biggest swimming accomplishment would probably be winning ACCs last year and being part of the team that finished ninth at NCAAs. Setting some of the ACC records on the medley relay teams was important to me; I am really proud of that.
Question: What will you miss the most?
Olesen: A lot of things, but probably just the camaraderie and having these guys out here everyday. Always having someone to talk to – always having friends around you.
Question: What is your major and career aspirations?
Olesen: I am majoring in chemical engineering and I’m hoping to go into the oil industry. I am looking for jobs right now but I would like to eventually own an oil consulting company so I can fund my other hobbies – fishing, hunting, boating, being outside. My dad has worked in oil for a long time so I am pretty familiar with the industry.
Question: Coming down the home stretch, what do you guys have your eyes set on for the rest of this year?
Olesen: It kind of just struck me in the last week what little time I have left. I just want to go out on the highest note possible – we want to win ACCs and finish top-8 or top-7 at NCAAs.