July 17, 2008
BERKELEY - CalBears.com spoke with Golden Bears swimmer Lauren Boyle about her Olympic dream. A sophomore in 2007-08, Boyle qualified to swim in the 2008 Summer Olympics for New Zealand's 800-meter freestyle relay last March after the NCAA Championships.
CalBears.com: What's the biggest sacrifice you've had to make to reach the Olympics?
Boyle: "Actually I don't feel that I have had to make any sacrifices. It has always been a dream of mine to go to the Olympics, and everything that I do to work towards that I enjoy. Coming to Cal has been a total benefit for me, definitely not a sacrifice there. I love the lifestyle of an athlete."
CalBears.com: What are you looking forward to most in Beijing?
Boyle: "I think the experience as a whole is something really to look forward to. I don't really know what to expect I have never been to the Olympics before, but I think the Athlete Village will be something really special to experience. Obviously the new culture will be something different to experience. I think all the athletes coming together as one village, being together, will be something really new."
CalBears.com: How challenging is it to be in school, compete at Cal and train for the Olympics?
Boyle: "Well training for the Olympics is training for the NCAA; it is training towards many goals, including the Olympics. Being a student-athlete puts some other demands on us, like we have to spend a lot of time studying and that can sometimes affect practicing, being stressed, out or you have an exam and cannot attend practice.
"It has been really hard for me this semester because the NCAA meet was the week before New Zealand's Olympic trials. So I flew straight from the NCAAs, which was in Columbus, Ohio, to Auckland, New Zealand. I didn't get to come back to Berkeley. Then I had to compete the day after I arrived in New Zealand. So I was really tired and really jet-lagged, and that was really tiring."
CalBears.com: What is your favorite memory of a past Olympics?
Boyle: "I was watching to 1996 Olympics and [Danyon Loader] from New Zealand won a gold medal in the 200 freestyle. At that time I wasn't really involved in swimming, but at that time I remember watching him up on the podium with his hands in the air and an Olympic medal around his neck. I just always remembering that was really special."
CalBears.com: When did you first dream of going to the Olympics or know you wanted to be an Olympian?
Boyle: "Probably when I was about 12-years-old. I had just started swimming competitively. I won my first Auckland bronze medal, which is pretty small. No one really goes to it, but I thought it was pretty cool. I wanted to go to the Olympics."
CalBears.com: How has Cal helped you attain your goal of going to the Olympics?
Boyle: "The Cal swimming team is one of the best swimming teams on the planet and we have world-record holders and Olympic team members on the team already. Training with people who aspire to be at the top every single day is inspiring. I have one of the best coaches in the world, Teri McKeever, who has coached national teams many times and has the experience of coaching really fast athletes, so it is a situation where excellence is demanded and expected."
CalBears.com: What has been the biggest influence on you and your training?
Boyle: "Probably Teri because she has made me realize that there are so many ways to achieve fast swimming. You don't have to do things a specific way to be faster or achieve the time that you want to. There are so many different ways that can work and that you can have fun on the way."
CalBears.com: How did you first become interested or involved in your sport?
Boyle: "My mother got me started in swimming when I was about 6-months-old. I did swimming lessons for a while then I decided that I wanted to join a club. I think it was just something to do back in the day. Mom and Dad made me a do a number of after-school activities. As I got better I decided I would narrow my focus to swimming, so I have just kept doing that."