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Feb. 7, 2013

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Senior swimmer Kelly Grant (Long Lake, Minn.) recently sat down with to talk about being a legacy at Virginia, what is next after UVa and more.

Five members of your family have gone to UVa, with you being the fourth in that line. How did the legacy of Grants coming to Charlottesville begin?

Grant: It started with my dad. He came here back as an undergrad in the late 1970s and then he went to Darden (School of Business) here as well and then his brother followed him here and he went to law school at UVa as well. That kind of inspired my sister, Jennings, to look here and she knew from day one that she wanted to go to UVa. I wasn’t sure until I finally came here and felt this was the perfect place for me so I followed her. Now my younger brother is a second-year here and my younger sister is a junior in high school as an aspiring UVa student.

Did having your sister on the team help with your adjustment to college?

Grant:It definitely helped with the adjustment process as I could ask my sister questions that younger girls may be too intimidated to ask the older girls. We swam different events thankfully. She swam breaststroke and I swim distance freestyle so it was comforting having her there but also nice not having to compete against her. In high school, we competed a little bit but never swam the same race in college.

Other than having family go here, what drew you to UVa?

Grant: It was a combination of everything. I looked at some smaller schools and realized they were too small and too much like high school and I looked at schools as big as UCLA that have 30,000 undergrads. I looked at the smallest to the biggest and I thought UVa was the perfect balance of size, academics and athletics, which were really important to me as well. I feel like everyone in the athletic community appreciates going to the other sports.

What will you miss most about UVa?

Grant: Everything. The more I think about next year and what comes next after leaving UVa, it’s really sad but thankfully I still have my brother here so I’ll come back to visit. You always see the alumni coming back and they’re still a part of the same UVa student family so I know I will always have that in Charlottesville.”

What is next for you after Virginia?

Grant: I’m exploring a couple of different options right now. I’m preparing for the GMAT to apply to grad school. I’d like to eventually be in marketing for the Spanish-speaking population in the United States since I’m a Spanish major. I’d love to combine some business education in graduate school with my Spanish major, but I’m also exploring living abroad for a little bit. I spent last summer in Spain and that really helped my Spanish, becoming proficient in the language and being able to use it for my career. I’d like to spend a little more time abroad, so either one or the other. I haven’t decided what comes first but I keeping both options open.

I was studying in Spain with the UVa-Valencia program. I took four courses when I was over there for 10 weeks so I got a lot of credits done for my major. I did a home stay so I lived with a Madre who knew all about Spanish culture and she didn’t speak a word of English, so it was great for my Spanish communication. I also traveled a little bit through Europe, which was nice since I’ve never been over there so I had a little fun. I’d like to go to South America, not Spain. Spain was awesome but the Hispanic population in the United States is mainly Latin American or South American, so I’ve sought out communities in Argentina, specifically Buenos Aires or Córdoba, where I can combine taking classes but also teaching English over there and immersing myself in another Spanish-speaking society.”

Why should a high school student look at UVa?

Grant: If they are a swimmer, I’d tell them that you couldn’t find a better team to come compete with. It’s always getting some of the top recruits in the country and everyone has the same team-oriented success goals. Every year we try to make ourselves a little bit better, whether it’s winning ACCs by that much more or at NCAAs placing a little bit higher. I think everyone is success- and goal-oriented and there’s a really good team environment. Plus, UVa I think is one of the best schools in the country. It’s hard to turn that down.”

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