Jan. 11, 2013
Virginia swimming and diving volunteer assistant coach and Olympic gold medalist Matt McLean joined VirginiaSports.com for a quick Q&A reflecting on his time at the World Short Course Championships in December, where he won gold with the United States men’s 4x200m free relay.
Question: How was your experience in Istanbul at the World Short Course Championships?
McLean: Istanbul was another great experience. I had a chance while I was still pretty tired, not shaved and was put in a situation where I didn’t have a choice but to swim fast. Coach (Mark) Bernadino worked me hard right up until I left and basically said, `your rest will be the flight over there,’ and I was able to follow through despite it not being the best conditions for myself. I was relatively pleased with how I did and it highlighted a lot of things I can work on, especially when I’m tired.
Question: What was it like anchoring the United States to gold and then being on the podium when the National Anthem was played?
McLean: I don’t think there’s any better position that you can be put in than anchoring a night relay for the United States. It was the coolest thing I could ask for. Seeing the flag go up while the National Anthem was playing was great. (U.S. National Team Director) Frank Busch told us this summer that the National Anthem should be our fight song and everybody took that to heart and is singing it now and to get to do that up on the podium was something else.
Question: What’s next after a great 2012? Are you going to focus more on the 200 free because of the success you’ve had?
McLean: I’ve gotten in some good training and I’m going to try and hit a few meets before the trials for World Championships in Barcelona this summer. And I’m not done with the 400 (free) yet. We’re working on a meet schedule now that will help prepare me for trials.
Question: You do a lot of great work with a charity called Never Ever Give Up, a foundation which helps children dealing with cancer and other terminal illnesses, what is the latest with that organization?
McLean: I had a visit at The Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in December in Norfolk, and we’re working to get some local visits soon so I can give back to the community that has supported me personally in addition to other locations around the region. It’s good to give back and it feels great to be able to do something good for others.