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Senior Liz Shaw and the Virginia women’s swimming team heads to Atlanta for the ACC Championships, which begin Wednesday evening at Georgia Tech. Shaw and her teammates are looking for their fourth consecutive conference title, a feat that has never been accomplished. Finals slated for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights will be webcast by ACC Select at Shaw, a native of Richmond, Va., recently sat down with to talk about the team’s mentality going into the conference meet, her fellow seniors, major and future plans.

Question: How would you describe the season up to this point in time?
Compared to the other three seasons, as a whole, this is the hardest we have ever worked. Everybody is killing it every single day. So from the training aspect, everybody has really stepped it up this year. I also think we had an amazing dual meet season. We learned a lot as a team between the first dual meet and the last dual meet. At Florida – we had an amazing meet. Then some of the meets in between either was not our best or did not go the way we expected. I think we did a really good job of being able to bounce back, refocus, and not lose confidence. We learned how to become a team over the course of this season.

Question: What is the mentality going into the ACC Championships?
It’s so exciting. I remember all of us thinking in November how ACCs were so far away. But now it’s finally here and it’s actually happening. We are not expecting it to be a blowout. We know (North) Carolina is going to be gunning for us. I know every one of us will be ready to respond.

Question: What is your advice as a senior captain to your teammates who will be competing at ACCs for the first time?
Have passion. I think that is one of the things they have learned a lot about over the course of the dual meet season. It’s one thing to be the best of friends outside the pool, but it’s another to show how much you care about your team in having the same goals and wanting to achieve things for each other. It’s about showing that passion in the pool and getting excited about every time we race together. That’s the thing I have been most focused on teaching them this year.

Question: How would you describe your seven other classmates and what you’re trying to accomplish this weekend?
They are seriously the best. I love them so much. Especially this year, I have been overwhelmed with love. I think it was really a once-in-a-lifetime thing to have all of our personalities come together and mesh so well. We all share the same goals and we took it upon ourselves to carry the team from day one. We set out to win ACC championships every single year. We don’t expect anything less of each other.

Question: What are you going to remember the most about swimming at UVa?
My teammates. There are ups and downs in the actual swimming part. My teammates are what have kept me going for four years. They are my people.

Question: What is your major? What are your future plans?
My degree is in psychology and I will be graduating in May. I’m actually going to take a year off from school, though I haven’t quite decided what I am going to do yet. I would love to travel or just move away and get a random job somewhere. I need to be out of Virginia for a while. I am applying to the commerce school for the fifth year, hopefully starting in the fall of 2012. That is the plan for now.

Question: What made you want to come to UVa?
The people, first and foremost. I initially didn’t even want to look here. It was an hour from my house. But my parents encouraged me to take a look – they wanted me to look at something in-state. So I scheduled a recruiting trip and I just fell in love with it. Mark (Bernardino) is the greatest. I knew I wanted to swim here. But you can’t come here and not love it when you actually see it. It had the best balance of academics and athletics of any school I looked but the people were definitely what sold me.

Question: What do you like to do for fun?
A lot of times we’ll just do random things together. We’ll watch movies or sometimes Claire (Crippen) and I will just sit at home on the couch and be on Facebook. I like to just hang out with my people.

Question: What is your favorite event to swim and what is your best?
I would say they are the same event – both the 200 fly. Sometimes I feel like we have a love-hate relationship because when it’s a bad 200 fly it’s so bad, but when it’s a good 200 fly it feels so amazing.

Question: What is your favorite spot on Grounds?
: The Lawn. Everybody says it but it’s so true. I will be there every day in the spring.

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