Q&A with Tom Barrett
Junior Tom Barrett and the Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams continue competition with two road ACC dual meets this week. The Cavaliers will visit Duke at 5 p.m. Friday in Durham, N.C., before battling rival North Carolina on Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. The men will swim against UNC at 12 p.m. with the women’s meet slated for 3 p.m. Barrett, a native of Brisbane, Australia, recently caught up with VirigniaSports.com to chat about the season thus far, how he ended up at UVa and what he likes to do for fun.
Question: How would you describe the season thus far?
Barrett: From a team point of view, I feel like we had a little bit of a slow start. I wasn’t here for the first semester last year but with all the freshmen coming in, most years it does start on the slow end and take a little while for people to get adjusted. When I first came in it took me awhile to get adjusted to the training; I wasn’t used to doing this much. Now I’m really adjusted and am feeling more fit than ever. I’m ready to go this year.
Question: How did end up at UVa all the way from Australia?
Barrett: I just wanted to get out of Australia; I didn’t really have much motivation back home with my club team. It is mainly a younger group of kids and I didn’t have the kind of talent to train with like I do here. I e-mailed a few colleges and Chip (Kline) was really good with getting in contact with me and explaining the process. I also had a friend here – Charlotte (Clarke, a sophomore on the women’s team), who came six months before I did. She was really helpful and encouraged me to pursue it.
Question: Do you miss your family back home?
Barrett: Moving here, that was a big move for me. My mom was really upset because my brother Sam had just moved to Canada a few months before. He works on the slopes and we actually went there for Christmas this year. But I usually get home twice a year.
Question: What is your favorite event to swim?
Barrett: My favorite used to be the 50 freestyle but now I would say it’s the 100. With the training that we do here – it’s an increase from what I’m used to – I feel like I have a lot more fitness now. I can sort of use my naturally long stroke in the 100 and not die as much as I used to, which is probably why I used to like the 50 better before I came here.
Question: The Duke-UNC meets last year were your first two in a UVa cap. Are you looking forward to swimming both those teams again?
Barrett: Duke and North Carolina are both excellent teams, really up there among our competition in the ACC. I know they are going to come out firing. That was my first meet last year and having the two meets back-to-back is a positive for us. I came out and swam against UNC and swam even faster the next day against Duke.
Question: Have you thought about a major yet?
Barrett: I declared as an English major this week. I’m at the point at my life where I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do but there are a lot of things you can do with an English degree.