Q&A with Kelly Flynn
Senior Kelly Flynn is one of eight members of the Virginia swimming team who will officially open the season this weekend at the SMU Classic in Dallas, Texas. The meet will begin at 7:30 p.m. eastern time both Friday and Saturday. Flynn, a native of The Woodlands, Texas, recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the team’s training, her journey to UVa and her future in medicine.
Question: How has training been going?
Flynn: There were a lot of girls who head breakout swims this summer so that really helped them with their confidence going into the short course season. We came back in August really ready to train hard, hit the weight room and get in a lot of great yardage. We are in a great place in training right now. Obviously, it’s “Rocktober” so we have been working really hard. We also have a new assistant coach, Anna Miller, and she’s been a tremendous addition. The team will really benefit from having her this year. Everyone came into the season with an attitude that this year has to been better than last year. We have a very young team and a lot of people really want to prove themselves this season.
Question: Are you looking forward to opening the season in Dallas? How does this meet differ from others?
Flynn: This meet has a format that none of us have ever experienced before in a college setting. We are bringing three first years so this will be their first introduction to college swimming. It’s not exactly the same atmosphere as a dual meet, but there will be a lot of different events to swim so we are just going to have to mix and match with only eight people. The good news is all the other teams face the same challenge. It will also be nice for me because I’m going back home, in a way.
Question: How would you describe your summer?
Flynn: I made my first Olympic Trial cut which was a big deal for me. I made it in the 200 IM, which is sort of an off-event of mine. I worked really hard this summer getting my breaststroke a little better and working on the 200 IM because we need a couple more IM’ers this year. I really look at long course as a way to train for short course; I am little bit of a better short course swimmer and long course is always preparation to train for the next college season.
Question: Describe your journey to UVa.
Flynn: I did my first year at the University of Washington. They cut the (swimming) program at the end of May, so it was extremely late. Mark (Bernardino) was kind enough to offer me a trip here. I fell in love when I visited that summer and knew this was exactly the place I was supposed to be. A lot of other schools didn’t want to take on a transfer that late but Mark was nice enough to let me join the team.
Question: It seemed to have worked out.
Flynn: Yes. I wish I had been able to come here all four years. It’s going to be really hard to leave knowing I only had three years here.
Question: What is your role as a fourth year this season?
Flynn: Obviously the fourth year class is the smallest class so we are an extremely young team. The older girls on the team can offer leadership and insight and try to guide the first years in the transition from high school and club swimming to college swimming.
Question: What is important for the first years to know?
Flynn: You don’t swim for your last name, you swim for the v-sabre on your cap. What’s good for the team is what’s good for you and what’s good for you is good for the team. You don’t come first anymore.
Question: What is your major? Any future career ambitions?
Flynn: I am a biology major. I will take the MCAT next summer, take my year off to do some lab work, maybe be a scribe or EMT in Charlottesville, then apply to med school for fall 2013. Hopefully at UVa; I would love to stay in Charlottesville. I will swim through (Olympic) Trials and that will be my last meet.
Question: What is your interest in medicine?
Flynn: I have just always been fascinated with science and the human body. Anyone on the team will tell you I don’t get grossed out by anything. I’m always the one who wants to know all the nasty details. I’ve done some shadowing and I’ve done some internships; I just can’t imagine sitting at a desk for the rest of my life. I definitely want to go into surgery or something that has a lot of gross stuff.
Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
Flynn: I’m in Functional Morphology of Vertebrates right now – it’s an upper level biology lab. We do a lot of dissections: cats, pigs, pigeons and sharks.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Flynn: I’m the baker on the team so I do a lot of cooking. I make a mean banana bread. I also just really like to explore Charlottesville – the downtown mall, apple picking, sitting on the Lawn, hanging out on the Corner.
Question: What has it meant to you to be part of this program?
Flynn: Mark, this program and this team has given more to me than I could ever give back to them. Swimming for UVa has been the biggest accomplishment of my life and it’s something I am really proud of. This team comes first for me because my swimming career would have ended if Mark didn’t let me come here. I’m really appreciative everyday of having a team, a training group, great alumni. You don’t realize how much it means until it’s gone. I walked in one day two and a half years ago and it was gone. So for those reasons I love coming to practice everyday.