Lauren Funk, a senior swimmer at Ohio University, is at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska preparing for one of the biggest races of her career. Funk will compete in the preliminaries of the 50 meter freestyle on Sunday morning, 11 A.M. EST. If she should advance, the semifinals would be that night and the finals would be on Monday evening. The Trials ultimately take 52 athletes (26 men; 26 women) when the eight days of competition are completed.
Funk was named a College Swimming Coaches Association of America Honorable Mention after her performances this season. She hails from Springfield, Ohio and racked up five top-10 finishes at this years MAC Championships.
Lauren took some time to sit down with us a couple of days before her race and talk to us about her preparation and mindset going into the race.
When did you start to swim competitively and what got you interested in the sport?
“I swam in a summer league ever since I was nine, but then I started swimming year-round in the eighth grade. When I first joined a club team I was average, but in my second year doing club I shot forward and qualified for all these meets that kids training for 10 years hadn’t even qualified for. I got good at it and figured I would see how far I could go. I really enjoy it and it’s really fun.”
How did you get the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Trials?
“There is a certain time standard that you have to meet for each race. I got my time this Spring at Ohio University at a swim meet.”
What has your training regimen been like leading up to the Trials?
“Training has been kind of the same, but slightly different. We are training like it is any other meet, like the MAC Championship meet. Sadly, I am the only one from my team now that is at the Trials. So I have been training kind of separated from the group, but that actually fuels me more to work my butt off so good things happen at trials and I can go back to training with them.”
How does training for the Olympic Trials compare to training for a collegiate season?
“It is long course work compared to short course work. You have to get more yardage in, because it is a longer race no matter what you swim. But at the same time you have to work on better finishes and better starts to get those extra few seconds. Work on the little things.”
How do you deal with the busy and demanding training schedule involved in the sport?
“I have lost a lot of sleep since high school. It’s just time management. Freshman year is always hard, but after that you get a routine and figure out that you can’t watch television so long because you have to do your homework because you won’t have time tomorrow. It’s just a lot of time management. That is all you can do.”
What runs through your mind during the final stretch of a race?
“You know if the race is good enough from the very start. If the race is good and you feel good, the finish is just so easy. You kind of blackout for a minute. At one point you are in the middle of the pool and the next you are on the wall and you see this amazing time and you jump up and down. It’s a really good feeling when you know you are swimming well.”
Fast forward to 20 minutes before the race on Sunday. What emotions are running through your head?
“I went out to the pool today (Friday) and my heart sped up just because it is a little overwhelming. I think it is good I am getting that out of my system now because on Sunday I will just be cool and collected behind the blocks, but at the same time I am really excited to swim amidst all of those people watching. The whole atmosphere is crazy so I am really excited to get started.”
How would it feel to to be able to represent your country on the biggest of stages in London this summer?
“I have no idea how I could even explain how I would feel. I am at the second biggest meet in a swimmer’s lifetime. It’s crazy how close I am to even going to the Olympics.”