March 3, 2008
Calif. - Berkeley - Calbears.com recently sat down with senior Joseph Whittington to talk about his last year on the Cal men's swim team and his future plans. As one of eleven seniors on the team, Whttington has a enjoyed four years of success with the team and has high hopes for the future.
Swimming for Coach Durden this season has been great! Our team was very lucky that he decided to come and coach us. He brought a history of winning at the NCAA Championship level to our program which has kept us competing with the other top schools for Pac 10 and NCAA titles. Nort Thornton is legendary. He has a level of experience that is hard for anyone to comprehend. He was coaching at Cal long before I was even born! Because of what he has accomplished you are unable to compare him to anyone at the college, or even the world swimming level.
What are your thoughts heading into the Pac-10 Championships? How will
the team do and what events will you be competing in?
The Pac-10 Championships have, in my 4 years here, been a big deal for the team. The meet means that its the time of the season to be swimming season best times and racing other schools in a championship meet format. It is the last meet before NCAA's so all the little things that you have been working on throughout the season start falling into place in preparation for the NCAA Championships. The team this year is in a position to be racing for 1st place at this meet. The meet will come down to who shows up and races that day. This past year out team has had some ups and some downs when it comes to racing, but I have full confidence that our team will be up and racing with the other schools in every event. I will be racing in a couple of relays, the 50 yard freestyle, and the 100 yard freestyle.
I understand you are preparing for the Olympic trials, which event/s
are you preparing for? and what have you been doing in preparation?
The Olympic Trials are at the beginning of July this coming summer and I will be competing in the 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter freestyle. Olympic trials has been on my mind for the past 4 years. I am going to rely on the experience that I had 4 years ago when I competed in them to help me prepare to preform at my best on one of the biggest stages outside of the Olympics. In a way, NCAA's is a way to prepare for Olympic Trials since it too is an extremely fast meet, however right now NCAA Championships is my main focus. After NCAA's then I will really start to think about Olympic Trials.
Aside from the Olympic trials what are your post graduate plans?
Next year I will be returning to Cal to finish up my ISF degree (5th year senior). I will probably be taking a long break from swimming and put the time I used to put in the pool into my studies.
Looking back at you time on the Cal swim team, what has been you most
My most memorable moments from the Cal swim team have to be hanging out with the team. There are so many great memories, from all living together in the dorms as Freshmen, to the time in Colorado Springs we spent every Christmas Break, and even just normal days in practice joking around with them. The guys that make up the team is what makes the experience memorable.
What is your biggest accomplishment here at Cal, either academically or in athletics?
My best accomplishment at Cal athletically I hope is still to come at Pac-10's and NCAA's. Aside from that, beating Stanford my freshmen year, at our pool, in the pouring rain, at what most within the swimming world consider to be the fastest duel meet ever, and to be ranked the #1 duel meet team in the nation was very exciting. Academically I am still struggling to decide what I really want to do with my life. It has been hard choosing classes because of the diverse selection Cal offers, but the athletic advising staff has been very helpful in pointing me in whatever direction I decide, even if that changes year to year.
As a senior, what advice can you give to the younger members of the team?
As a senior the only real advice that I can give to the younger class men is to try and live every moment and try to have fun in the little things in life and swimming. It gets tough swimming miles and miles every day, and it gets even tougher when you cant laugh or joke around with a teammate to help get you through it. I can never thank my family, friends, and teammates enough for helping me though the tough times and helping me enjoy the good times.