Q&A with Peter Geissinger
Peter Geissinger and the Virginia men’s swimming team heads to the NCAA Championships this week looking for a repeat top-10 finish after a school-best ninth-place showing a year ago. The national meet begins Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, and the Cavaliers will be represented by eight swimmers at the event. Geissinger, a native of Darien, Conn., recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to chat about the upcoming NCAA meet, how he has improved as a swimmer in two seasons at Virginia and his favorite event to swim.
Question: What has the team done since the ACC meet to prepare for NCAAs?
Geissinger: We just try to stay focused and do what we have done all year, which is to train hard and not get distracted by the nice weather.
Question: How does the recent ACC Championship affect the team heading into the NCAA meet?
Geissinger: It gives us confidence, of course. Obviously we would have liked to get more guys to NCAAs but it was a fast year I suppose. We did get all of our relays in, which was huge. We feel very confident that we can go a lot faster at Ohio State than we did at North Carolina.
Question: How have you developed as a swimmer since coming to Virginia?
Geissinger: When I came here my stroke was a little scrambled and Chip (Kline) has helped me a lot to lengthen it out. Alissa (Goldman) has also helped me out in the weight room. I just tried to fix my stroke and get stronger so that my improved technique will help.
Question: How will your NCAA experience be different the second time around?
Geissinger: It was huge going last year just like it is will be huge for Tom Casey this year. It is so different than anything I have ever experienced. Going for a second time, I know what to expect and how fast everyone is going to be swimming. Last year I was just along for the ride but this year I am hoping to contribute.
Question: How did you get started swimming?
Geissinger: I started swimming because my dad is into sailing and would always take my brother and sister and I out on the boat. So my mother got scared and made us all take swim lessons. Then we joined a swim league in the summer and eventually did it all year round. I didn’t even think swimming was my best sport into high school; I always thought soccer was my best sport.
Question: How did you end up at UVa?
Geissinger: After my junior year in high school I took visits to Georgia Tech, Emory, UNC, and finally UVa. After my trip to Virginia I thought I would probably end up here but my dad made me go on all the other trips just to make sure I had a broad base. It came down to here and Denison – where my brother went. The coaches here were very upfront with me and I got along with the team so it was an easy pick.
Question: What is your favorite event to swim?
Geissinger: I love to swim the 400 free relay because 100 free is my favorite event. One hundred yards is the perfect distance to go fast but long enough that speed can pay off. I also like that it is the last event of the meet and that a lot of meets come down to that event.
Question: What is the hardest part of being a sprint freestyler?
Geissinger: The hardest part is that such little things can make such a huge difference. It’s really hard to make up for a slow start – something I’m not very good at.
Question: What do you like to do aside from swimming?
Geissinger: I like watching sports and playing video games. Football is my favorite sport. I am a huge New York Giants fan and I am really excited for the World Cup this summer.
Question: What is your major?
Geissinger: I haven’t declared yet but it is going to be economics. I like that I can find relevance to the real world when I’m learning it. It will probably help me in the future.
Question: What is your favorite spot on Grounds?
Geissinger: The Lawn is the nicest to walk around on but I don’t hang out there much. I really like that hill across from the Corner that leads up to the Lawn – that is a nice spot.