Q&A with Tom Casey
Junior Tom Casey and the Virginia swimming teams conclude the fall season at the Georgia Invitational this weekend in Athens, Ga. The NCAA Championships-style format begins with preliminaries at 9:30 a.m. each morning, while finals will take place beginning at 5 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Casey, a native of Suffield, Conn., recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the upcoming Georgia Invitational, his favorite event to swim and which roommates he can beat in a round of golf.
Question: How would you describe the fall season thus far?
Casey: We’re in a really good place in terms of our aerobic training and our base. We have done a lot more speedwork lately, and I think we’re starting to come around. We had some good swims over a couple of days at Penn State. We’re getting pumped up for this meet this weekend; it should be a lot of fun.
Question: What are your expectations for the Georgia Invitational this weekend?
Casey: There are going to be a lot of great teams competing so there will be some fast swimming for sure. We are hoping to step up and do really well. We want to set new standards for ourselves. This is a big opportunity of find out where we stand. We still haven’t really figured ourselves out yet. This is going to be gut-check time and just a really good opportunity to race.
Question: For you personally, how have you improved in your two-plus years at UVa?
Casey: I had a really good first year and had a lot of really big jumps coming out of high school. I was sick a lot last year; didn’t really have a great year and sort of plateaued a little bit. But I’m back in the water healthy and training well. I had a good summer of training, the first real big summer that I’ve done. Having the coaches really work with me for an entire summer is starting to pay dividends. For me, I think this is going to be a big meet in terms of getting back to where I was and where I can go from here.
Question: How did you end up at UVa?
Casey: I was a spring recruit. I didn’t get fast until my senior spring meet. I swam pretty well in March at our state meet and I got a lot of phone calls from a lot of different schools. I had taken a lot of trips so I only had a few left. One of them was UVa. I came down and absolutely fell in love with it. We had a really fun weekend – it was right after NCAAs so it was pretty relaxed and we got to do a lot of things with everybody on the team. I’ve always talked about UVa with my parents as the great academic school. So that coupled with (the team) coming off a great finish in 2009, it was all very appealing. The whole package came together and it worked out really well.
Question: What is your favorite event to swim? What is your best event?
Casey: I think my best event is my 200 IM. I’m hoping to do some big things in that and both the breaststroke events this year. My favorite event, though, is probably the 50 free. I got to do it a few times in high school. I’m not very good at it but I like it. It’s quick and explosive; the exploding part is probably why I’m not very good at it. I tend to get sloppy and have trouble. You have to have perfect technique and still go fast. I just like to go fast.
Question: Have you declared a major?
Casey: Yes. I’m in English major and hoping to minor in philosophy. I’m looking at law school after graduation. I want to see where I can branch out from there.
Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
Casey: That’s tough. I had a class called Southern Short Story Cycles with Jennifer Greeson this summer. That was I think my favorite so far. I’m also taking English 383 right now, which is modernism and post-modernism so I’m really having a lot of fun with that. We’ve done a couple of papers talking about the authors and how they fit into modernist period. We get a lot of freedom to pick what we want to write about.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Casey: I live with Scot (Robison) and (Matt) Murray. We do a lot of random things all the time. We do a lot of fishing and play a lot of golf in the summer. I’m hoping this winter goes by really quickly so we can get back on the course. We also just hang out and play video games and watch TV.
Question: So when you are golfing, who wins? And who catches the most fish?
Casey: I typically take it. I played on a golf team in high school. I take it easy on them but typically come out on top. Scot usually catches the most fish. And Murray. I don’t have the natural casting abilities that they do.
Question: What is your favorite spot on Grounds?
Casey: That’s tricky. For studying, I like to go to the Fine Arts Library. The Lawn is always a great place to hang out and the Corner is fun. There’s a lot of stuff to do.