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Third year Jenny Lewis and the Virginia women’s swimming and diving team opens the 2010-11 season Monday at defending NCAA champion Florida. The meet is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Gainesville, Fla. Lewis, a native of Pittsford, N.Y., recently caught up with to chat about the upcoming season, her summer internship and what she likes to do for fun.

Question: Are you ready for the season to start?
I am very excited! I went home this summer and kind of took last season with a grain of salt. I worked on the things I needed to work on both mentally and physically. I am excited to start over again and see where it goes.

Question: How has the team prepared from the start of school until now?
I think this has been one of the hardest preseasons – physically – that we have had. I also think we have a really young team, so we have really just tried to come together. Every year you have a new team and last year’s team is not the same as this year’s team. We have spent a lot of time bonding.

Question: Does starting the season with the defending national champions add anything to the meet?
I don’t think there is a better way to start the season off than at the top. We are definitely going to give them a run for their money and make them swim fast. In order to be the best, you have to swim against the best. It’s also just always fun swimming against Florida. We have a nice camaraderie with them, especially with Claire and Teresa (Crippen). I am excited to go see them and see what they can do. I m probably more excited to watch all the other events than to swim my own events!

Question: How have you improved from stepping on Grounds for the first time until now?
Honestly, I think I have more confidence now. I was so scared my first year. I was homesick and everything was so new to me that I was completely overwhelmed. This year I am finally comfortable and happy, and I think that is definitely going to show in my swimming.

Question: What made you decide to come to UVa?
I think it would be easier to ask what didn’t make me want to come to UVa! I am a huge history nerd. When I was a junior I came on a tour with the U-Guides and I fell in love. It was beautiful. And the big thing with me when I was choosing a school was that I knew I wanted to go where I would be happy if you took swimming out of the equation. Swimming is a big part of my life but it’s not everything. That being said, when I took my official visit, I fell in love with the team and the atmosphere. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.

Question: Did you do anything else this summer besides swim?
I did an internship with the Rochester (N.Y.) district attorney’s office. It was amazing! I was paired up with an assistant DA who was working with misdemeanors and DWIs. I got to do a ton of hands-on stuff, sitting up at the prosecution’s table in court every day, wearing my high heels and business suits!

Question: Is law something you eventually want to pursue?
Yes, definitely, and I think this summer really reassured that. It was nice because over the summer I really redefined my swimming goals, being at home with my old coach, as well as my life goals. I came back with a really clear mind.

Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
My second year, first semester, I took a class called American political traditions. It was a small class – about 20 of us – and we would have discussions the entire time. It was about why are politics are the way they are – from Alexander Hamilton to John Marshall. The best part of the class was our professor – you could just tell he was in love with the subject. Being at UVa, and being so close to Washington, D.C., so many of my professors have been there. That is a huge advantage.

Question: What do you like to do for fun?
I am a really goofy person. I can entertain myself without even trying. Meredith Cavalier is my roommate and we can just look at each other and start laughing. I am also a Big Sib through the Madison House program, so I like to spend time with Diamond, my 10 year-old little sister.

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