By James Bedrock
For the third straight year, senior Rachel Glasser was named the Centennial Conference Championships Most Outstanding Performer. Glasser won seven medals, five gold and two silver. Not quite Mark Spitz or Michael Phelps, but an impressive feat nonetheless.
With the performance, Glasser now looks ahead to the NCAA Division III National Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee. The tournament, a familiar place for Glasser, brings forth the nation’s best, to compete for individual glory and All-American recognition.
Last weekend, Glasser broke meet, pool, and school records on her way to qualifying for the National Championships in three events. In the 500 free, she broke the meet and pool record. In the 200 free, she broke a school, meet, and pool record, and also broke the pool record in the 200 butterfly.
Glasser was a part of two gold medal relay teams, the 200 and 400 medley. In the 200 medley, Glasser led the team of freshman Hilary Badger, junior Jenna Moore, and sophomore Alix Batesko. The 400 medley team was made up of Badger, Moore, Glasser and freshman Carly Ogren.
In a Q&A, the Champion described what her road to the NCAA Championships has been about:
JB: How was this years champs competition different than in your previous three years? Tougher? Easier?
RG: I went into this Champs meet with a different mindset than in years past. I came in with more confidence, I knew that I didn’t have anyone that would push me too hard in any of my events. But no matter what I was racing myself and the clock.
JB: It seems like every time you get into the pool, you hit a personal best. Is this chalked up to natural progression during the season, or is there a bigger driving force behind it?
RG: Not every race is a best time and sometimes it’s hard to remember that. My times have continued to improve because I’ve kept up the work in the pool and in the weight room, especially in the off season. More than anything though, I think it’s mental. Each year I’ve come back with the desire to do better than the previous year. I want to end my senior year with a bang.
JB: You’ve been named Most Outstanding Performer at Champs for the third straight year. How does it feel knowing you’ve outshone your competitors for that amount of time?
RG: It has been a goal of mine to defend the title each meet since I won it sophomore year. Winning the Most Outstanding Performer three times is the reward for all of the hard training over the years and it is such a great feeling to see that payoff.
JB: NCAA Champs are in Knoxville. What are you looking forward to most in Tennessee?
RG: NCAA’s have been held at the University of Minnesota the last two years, so I’m glad for the change of scenery. The University of Tennessee has a brand new facility and I’m excited to be able to race in it. I can’t wait to do the senior walk on the last night in Knoxville.
JB: What are your goals performance-wise in Tennessee?
RG: Each year my goals for NCAA’s have gotten bigger and this year is no different. My goal is to make the championship final (top 8) in all three of my events. I’d love to bring home a national title. In years past 200 fly has been my best event, place-wise, but so far I’m seeded highest in the 500 free. I’m also swimming 200 free instead of 100 fly this year, so I’m excited for the chance to compete in something different.
JB: What can you say about your fellow teammates and coaches who help you prepare day in and day out?
RG: It is hard having to get new grad-assistant coaches every two years, but each time we’ve gotten great ones. This year, Robin has really helped me with my sprint events, Mark has helped me fine tune my distance races, and obviously Kim has been through everything with me along the way. I couldn’t imagine swimming with a greater bunch of teammates. Matt Violette has always been a great training partner for me. I was so emotional when I went to get the MOP award on Sunday night because I’m sad that this is the end and to have to leave the team that has felt like a family to me through the last four years.
Glasser is set to compete for a National Champioinship in the 500 free, 200 free and the 200 fly. With the meet four and a half weeks away, Glasser has plenty of time to prepare and focus in. Regardless of her performance at the NCAA’s, Glasser has achieved impressive feats making her friends, family, and entire school proud.
Volume LXXXI Issue 16