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Fourth year Timmy Hayes and the Virginia men’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 12 p.m. Saturday and face off with the Blue Devils at 11 a.m. Sunday. Prior to the Duke dual meet, Hayes, a native of Coopersburg, Pa., will be one of eight men’s seniors honored. He recently sat down with to chat about the UNC rivalry, his favorite event to swim and his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL.

Question: Are you looking forward to swimming against rival North Carolina on Saturday?
This rivalry with UNC is one of the best sports rivalries I think. We go after those guys; it’s pretty intense. I think it’s great for our sport and it’s great for us. We look back at the rivalry and it’s all about tradition. It’s all about what’s been done before us and what the guys after us will do. We’re not swimming against UNC on Saturday just for this season – it’s about what we stand for. The tradition and rivalry all come together. It’s the last time I will be able to swim against them in a dual meet and that’s pretty special. It means a lot because we loss my first year by three points and that was the first time they had beat us in awhile. Chip (Kline) sat us down after that loss and told us we had to be perfect the rest of the way. We won ACCs that first year.

Question: What about the Duke meet on Sunday and being recognized as one of the seniors?
It’s cool for my mom and dad and my family. It doesn’t mean a lot to me – it’s just another dual meet. But my parents have loved watching me swim and it will be special for them. They have been watching me since I was young and it makes them proud.

Question: What will you remember most about swimming at UVa?
The brotherhood. It’s not a normal college experience. You’re not just on a team at a school – this is a real brotherhood. These are your best friends and they will be for life. The thing I will remember the most is having a family; coming in every day and seeing the people you want to be with and training hard. We are all working towards a common thing and accomplishing our goals. The one thing that I really love about UVa is just having that camaraderie and being able to connect with people who are there for the same reason – to push each other and be the best.

Question: What would you say is your favorite event to swim and your best event to swim?
I would say my favorite event is the 200 IM and that’s probably my best event too. It’s my favorite because it’s short enough that I can’t really get caught in the freestyle. Freestyle is my worst stroke and that’s why I’m in the distance group. It’s been my favorite event since I’ve been here at UVa. It’s a fun event, especially in the dual meet, when everybody’s tired and the 200 IM or the 400 IM is the last event. It’s fun for me to dig down deep and really try to out-muscle people and prove that I am the one with the most heart.

Question: What is your major? What are your future plans?
I am a Spanish major with a history minor but I am planning to go into Official Candidate School (OCS) in the Navy. My ultimate goal is to be a SEAL but that’s a long way down the road. OCS is 12 weeks; I have an application package due in May. I’ll find out around July 1 and get it all underway in the fall.

Question: Have you always wanted to be a Navy SEAL?
I have always thought about it, but I never really looked in to the Naval Academy or doing ROTC. I am just a really active guy; you’ll never really find me sitting down doing nothing. I like to get out and do stuff. I think it’s just a lifestyle that I will excel at; my life has always been structured and disciplined. It’s something I think I would really enjoy. I don’t see myself doing a desk job from 9 to 5.

Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
History of the language which was a 400-level Spanish class. I took it with my advisor and it was all about how the Spanish that we speak today has evolved from the Latin that the Romans spoke. It was really cool because we looked at different time periods and how different cultures and different languages have influenced the Spanish that we speak today.

Question: What do you like to do for fun?
In the summer I am outside a lot. When I’m not in the pool though I just like to hang out with my friends. A few of us have been feuding over Madden on PS3 and Xbox. We get together and play that. I also love Philadelphia sports teams – I am a huge Phillies and Eagles fan. So every weekend I am going to Boylan or Wild Wings to watch those games.

Question: What advice would you give to future swimmers who come after you?
Take Mark (Bernardino) with a grain of salt for your first couple months here. He can be pretty intense but he is the best coach that you can imagine. He knows where you’re headed better than you do. He knows what he has planned for you. Know in the back of your mind that he knows what’s best. He knows what he’s doing.

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