Q&A with Katya Bachrouche
Fourth year Katya Bachroche and the Virginia women’s swimming and diving team welcomes North Carolina and Duke this weekend for its final home meets of the season. The Cavaliers will compete against the Tar Heels at 3 p.m. Saturday and face off with the Blue Devils at 11 a.m. Sunday. Prior to the Duke dual meet, Bachrouche, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich., will be one of eight women’s swimmers honored. She recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to chat about the UNC rivalry, senior day on Sunday and what she will remember most about swimming at UVa.
Question: Are you ready to swim against UNC on Saturday?
Bachrouche: Mark (Bernardino) told us in practice this week the story about how the rivalry started. And it was essentially us picking a team that was good that we could one day catch up to. We were the worst team in the ACC picking the best team in the ACC to go after even though at first there was no chance we were going to win. That rivalry has just developed over the years. The first time we beat them in awhile was my first year and that was just a magical meet. It was an emotional high. It will be exciting to see what our first years can do this year. They’re getting fired up but I think they will better understand the rivalry when we get that first relay off.
Question: What about the Duke meet on Sunday and being honored as a member of the fourth year class?
Bachrouche: I remember my first year watching the fourth years up on the bulkhead crying because they couldn’t believe it was their last home meet. All the first years were thinking about how that was a long way off. And now Sunday, it’s our last home meet. We still have other meets so it’s not like our careers are coming to an end. But I just can’t believe it will be the last time we all swim together in our pool. We have told each other that we’re not going to cry, but who knows who’s going to let loose. I can’t believe that’s going to be us up there on the bulkhead. It’s over before you know it.
Question: You are kind of a special class. Do you feel that way?
Bachrouche: Yeah, I agree. Our first year, in sheer numbers, we made up a third of the team. Most of us have stuck it out and we bring a lot to the team in terms of depth and leadership. I think our class – it can’t be replicated. We have been a part of a team that has gone from 39th at NCAAs the year before we got here to being a top-10 team. It’s something we will hold with us forever.
Question: Why did you choose to come to UVa?
Bachrouche: UVa was not on the top of my list when I was looking at schools. I wanted my times to be in the middle and work my way up. I was pretty sure I was going to go to Stanford or Texas. But I had to reschedule my recruiting trip to UVa because I was so sick. I had no intentions of really rescheduling it because I really thought I was going to go to Stanford or Texas. My mom is like Buddha – she knows everything. She told me to give UVa a chance and I rescheduled it as my last trip. I almost missed my flight to UVa because I was looking at the first itinerary from the trip I had missed. The security line was super long and I literally carried everything and was running through the airport. I went to the wrong gate. The plane should have left – but I made it and if that wasn’t a sign, I stepped onto Grounds and knew I was going to come here. The team, academics, history and tradition just got me.
Question: What do you think you will remember most about swimming at UVa?
Bachrouche: From a family aspect, I will never forget coming to school and having 60 people be a part of my family. Coming to school from out-of-state, you don’t know anyone. But I came here and instantly had a family. They are my brothers and sisters and that’s something you can’t get on every team. I was never homesick because of the family I had here. From the swimming aspect, I have never been as passionate about swimming as I have been since I got here. Especially being injured my first two years, I never really appreciated it like I do now. My third and fourth years have been completely healthy seasons and I love racing. I am racing for my teammates and not just myself. Overall the Division I level that we swim at is unmatched and my passion is just through the roof.
Question: Do you have one moment that will stick out?
Bachrouche: A lot of them stick out, but I think my first year, winning at UNC in the dual meet, at their pool, was something you can’t recreate. We got so far ahead of them the first part of the meet – everyone swam so fast. To get fired up for ACCs we watched that dual meet and that was a pretty special time. And then winning ACCs for the first time (in 2008) – you can never recreate winning something for the first time.
Question: What is your major and what are your future plans?
Bachrouche: My degree will be in psychology but in terms of a job, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I get to put that off for another year and a half because over the break I got some news that I am going to continue with my training. My dad was over in Lebanon visiting his parents and met with some people on the Olympic Committee and from the government who are in charge of organizing the swimming teams for the Olympics. I have dual citizenship but they didn’t know I could swim for them and represent Lebanon. I am going to visit there this summer, which I was going to do anyway, but I will be able to meet with them and lay out a game plan. It’s looking like I am going to be able to represent Lebanon this summer in the World University Games through the Lebanese university. I am really excited about it. I am thinking about getting a master’s degree in social foundations while I’m here training.
Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
Bachrouche: I really like Aerabic a lot but I took two psych classes last semester that I really enjoyed. One was called psychology of children, family and the law and that was really neat and could be something I would really like to go into. The other was stereotypes and prejudices and those were probably my favorite. It took me until my fourth year to really find them.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Bachrouche: In our boatloads of free time, a lot of it involves sleeping. But over break when we were here I did a lot of cooking. I like to bake; a lot of it is out of the box just for simplicity purposes. But I love sweets. My roommates and I got a Redbox every night and watched movies, just lounged around.
Question: Over break what was your favorite movie that you watched and your favorite food that you made?
Bachrouche: Hannah (Davis) and I watched “Despicable Me.” I had heard it was cute before I even watched it and I ended up really liking it. So that was probably my favorite. There was one week where we went to the store and bought ingredients for the whole week. We had it all planned out but it was so hard to do! I don’t know how I am going to be an adult. But we made this kind of sloppy joe from this healthy cookbook and they were delicious. It was something new that we had never tried before. I also loved making turkey burgers. Those were my favorite. They were gone pretty fast.
Question: What has it meant for you to be a captain this year?
Bachrouche: Like we were talking earlier, we have a really strong class of fourth years. Captains are just kind of a formality because really the eight of us lead the team together. To know that my team elected me, I was really honored. I started at the bottom my first year and was injured and wasn’t able to contribute to the team like I wanted. My third year I got healthy and assumed the leadership position with the rest of my class. But it felt really nice – I am honored to be a captain.