Q&A with Christine Olson
Junior Christine Olson and the Virginia women’s swimming and diving team returns to the pool this weekend to face a pair of Big Ten foes in Penn State and Indiana. The double dual meet begins at 6 p.m. Friday and continues at 11 a.m. Saturday in University Park, Pa. Olson, a native of Gilbert, Ariz., recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the upcoming meet, her growth as a swimmer and her major at UVa.
Question: What are the positives from the first two meets of the season?
Olson: We have had two pretty solid meets so far. The SMU Classic I think went really well for the first meet of the season. Caroline (Kenney) had a really good meet and went a best time so that was exciting to see. The Navy meet was good. I know the boys had a rough meet but we were able to keep our heads up and race fast.
Question: What are you looking to do against Indiana and Penn State this weekend?
Olson: I am looking forward to some really good competition – Indiana is very fast and Penn State is good, too. I think that will be exciting for us. Also, the coaches were telling us that Indiana and Penn State are kind of big rivals with each other and we are on the outside looking in. So we need to step in there and be competitive among them.
Question: What has the training been like this fall?
Olson: It’s been challenging but that is pretty typical of October, November, December. It’s going to pay off for us in the end.
Question: How would you describe your growth as a swimmer from where you were as a first year?
Olson: I have definitely learned a lot through the past two years. First year I had a good year and second year was not good. Really I’m trying not to compare myself to either of the past two years. I just want to start from here and get better. Things have been going well so far.
Question: How is the team chemistry this season?
Olson: Every year the team dynamic is totally different. Not only do the fourth years leave but a new class comes in. A big portion of the team is new. We try to think of it as not that they need to replace those eight who left, but rather that they just do the best they can. The first years have done an awesome job so far.
Question: What is your best event? What is your favorite to swim?
Olson: They are both the same – the 200 breast. Breaststroke is my best and also I feel that I’m not very good at sprinting. In the 200, I feel that I always go out my 100 time without trying, and it’s kind of frustrating because I wish I could just get my 100 faster!
Question: What is the most challenging thing as a breaststroker?
Olson: I would say keeping my stroke together when I get tired. It tends to fall apart towards the end of the race as I think about kicking my feet and keeping my hips up. When my breaststroke isn’t on, it’s totally off. It’s hit or miss.
Question: What stood out at UVa for you to continue your academic and swimming careers here?
Olson: I know a lot of people say this, but the balance between academics and athletics was huge for me. It seemed perfect. I can contribute to the team, but I am among everyone else; I compete with my teammates to make relay spots. And when I came on my recruiting trip, it was just so beautiful, especially right now in the fall.
Question: Have you declared a major yet?
Olson: I am an economics major. I am interested in business and econ is pretty close to that. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do yet – I was thinking hotel management at one point. But the econ intro classes where interesting to me. It kind of makes you think differently and gives you a different perspective of the world.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Olson: I love to go to the downtown fall, especially the farmer’s market on Saturdays. When it’s sunny, I love to be outside. I miss being tan like when I lived in Arizona. We love to grab some Bodo’s or Take It Away (sandwiches) and eat on the Lawn. Or in the summer, we’ll hit the pool.