Q&A with Jen Narum
Senior Jen Narum and the Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams close out the regular season with two dual meets this weekend. The Cavaliers travel to Annapolis, Md., for a dual meet with Navy at 4 p.m. Friday before returning home to the AFC for their final dual meet with Pitt on Saturday. Diving events will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the swimming meet to start at 1 p.m. Virginia’s senior class will be honored before the 1 p.m. start. Narum recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the win over UNC last weekend, preparing for championship mode and what she’ll remember most about swimming at Virginia.
Question: What did you take away from the Duke and North Carolina wins last weekend?
Narum: UNC and UVa are rivals and to be able to go in there, to their home pool and the site of ACCs, and win, was a huge boost of confidence. I think we are mentally prepared to win ACCs but being there and winning the events we did was really exciting. My first year, ACCs were at North Carolina and we finished third. There are a lot of memories at North Carolina that I want to erase, get rid of, and record over. I want to go out on a high note, and winning the way we did this weekend was a good precursor to that.
Question: What are you trying to get out of this week, being at Navy Friday then turning around for the last home meet on Saturday?
Narum: I just really want to have fun. That is the biggest thing. My parents are coming this weekend and they don’t get to make it out for a lot of meets because they live so far away. I want to swim different events. The atmosphere is always light-hearted and exciting during our last home meet. I want to tap into that and have fun.
Question: Then dual meet season is over and it’s time for championship mode.
Narum: I think we are actually going to start tapering off maybe next week. The Pitt meet is the end of dual meets, then it’s championship season. This weekend is a good last marker for that.
Question: How will you feel swimming in your last meet on Saturday?
Narum: I had always had a really good swimming career, my whole life. I am excited to move on to a different stage of my life without swimming. I have always joked that I am going to walk out on the bulkhead celebrating that it’s over. But now that it’s so close to being over, I don’t know how I will react. It’s here way sooner that I thought it would be. I remember my second year seeing Jessica Lewis on the bulkhead sobbing, her face bright red. I could go both ways.
Question: What is your degree in? What’s next for you?
Narum: I am a double major in German and foreign affairs. I applied for a couple internships, grants, programs, etc., in Germany for next year, to be there for a year. Ideally I would love to do that. Because of swimming I haven’t been able to go abroad. But I don’t really find out about those until April or May, so in the meantime, I am looking for jobs in government. I really like helping people; I wouldn’t even mind being an assistant for a while. I don’t really know yet.
Question: Your sister Lisa swims at Ohio State, what’s that like sharing your experiences at two different universities?
Narum: Their 800 free relay just missed making NCAAs last year, and she also was fighting some illness and she is getting better. There is definitely a good chance she makes it, so if we are both at NCAAs, that would be the coolest experience. It’s interesting because we have talked about recruiting. They have a couple things they did that I thought were really cool so we tried them out. We have a tradition here where we put out an ACC mix and listen to it during conference championships. And they did that last year for Big Tens. That is really neat, where we can share some of our traditions. We’re not rival schools, not in the same conference, so that helps.
Question: What are you going to remember most about swimming at Virginia?
Narum: I would say, ask me when I am done swimming, but definitely the team. It is going to be weird to not know what is going on in the lives of 20 girls. I can tell you what happened to so-and-so today, and how they felt about it. To not be involved in that is going to be strange. I think it is going to be hard to adjust to. Looking back on everything we shared, everything that brings you all together – I can’t imagine another way to bring that many people together.
Question: What advice would you give to future UVa swimmers?
Narum: I would say the biggest thing, as far as swimming goes, is to not get bogged down in the day-to-day stuff. My second and third year I had trouble at practice figuring out what I was doing wrong and why. If you ever lose focus of the big things – the team goals, ACCs, making an impact on this program – if that ever happens, swimming becomes so much harder. You have to think about what you are doing it for and how important you are to the team, when you do that, it’s so much more worthwhile.