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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 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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.

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