ATHLETE PROFILE: Dave Krzeminski

Last week, the Carnegie Mellon swim team competed at the University Athletic Association championships, held at Case Western Reserve University. The men’s team took third place, along with numerous personal recognitions. Now, the swimmers are preparing for nationals, to be held in Houston at the end of March.

A few days before the championships, The Tartan chatted with David Krzeminski, a senior swimmer. Over the weekend, Krzeminski received the title of Men’s Swimmer of the Year. He also won individual titles in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events.

Tartan: So, the team just went on a trip to Florida over winter break? How’d that go?
Krzeminski: It’s probably the most important training we do all year. [Our coach’s philosophy is:] You can stay here in Pittsburgh where it’s cold and snowy, or [you can] go down to Florida — try to enjoy yourself at least a little bit.

T: So Florida pretty much takes the edge off?
K: Yeah, pretty much. It’s more of a morale thing than anything else…. Not a lot of kids get a chance to travel, so you get a chance to see Miami.

T: How many hours would you swim a day?
K: Swimming-wise, two two-hour practices. We’re sharing the pool down there with other teams. We swam in the pool with teams like Columbia, NYU.

T: How’s the season going?
K: Very well. Both teams only lost one dual meet. Our conference meet is actually this weekend. In terms of where we’re seated and how people should be doing, we should finish up the season very well.

After that, the national meet is a month later. That’s sort of where you get a chance to prove who you are to teams you don’t see at all during the year.

The national meet is sort of the apex of the season I guess, for some people. Not everyone on the team will make nationals.

T: How many years have you gone to nationals?
K: Personally, I’ve gone all three years. If things go well this year, I’ll get four-for-four.

T: When did you first get involved with swimming?
K: Competitively, I started when I was five. The reasoning was I was tired of going to my sister’s swim meets, sitting in the stands, so I just decided, “Why not try it out?” So, I’ve been swimming competitively since then.

T: Did you always know you were going to swim in college?
K: No, I played football and did baseball in high school as well. I was kind of looking at the combination of the school academically and athletically; [Carnegie Mellon] had a phenomenal swim program and academics.

Plus, swimming is sort of a lifelong sport; a lot of people play football — it’s very easy to get injured. Putting the school aside, I’d probably still pick swimming. It’s probably one of those inner passions — I guess you could call it that.

T: How do balance everything? Swim meets, school work.
K: Well, there are many times when things like sleep and eating meals take the backseat. Luckily I’ve never had to pull a true all-nighter at this school; I know other student athletes that have.

While you’re in a sport, it forces you to manage your time. You have to be very organized, very disciplined.
Basically, you just eat, sleep, swim.

T: Do you think we need a mascot?
K: I think we should stick with the Scottish theme; that’s kind of how we identify ourselves as a university. If we were to pick some random animal that didn’t really identify with Carnegie Mellon’s tradition and history, it’d be a little hard to rally around that.

There’s hundreds of schools named the bulldogs or the wildcats, but I think it’s kind of neat when you come across a school that’s mascot needs a little bit of explaining along with it.