In this edition of Meet the Newcomers, GopherSports.com catches up with freshman backstroker Tom Donker. He hails from Zutphen, Netherlands and has made his mark early for the Gophers in the water.
GopherSports.com – What have you enjoyed most about being on campus?
Tom Donker – I would say the people because everyone is so friendly and kind. I’ve met a lot of people the last few months, some of which I know will be my friends for many, many years.
GS – Growing up in the Netherlands, what led you to choose the University of Minnesota?
TD – I always wanted to come to America to swim and study because it really is the best place in the world to combine the two. I wanted to be in a big city because I haven’t experienced the city life before, and weather was also a factor because snow is just awesome!
GS – When and how did you start swimming?
TD – I started swimming when I was about 6 years old. In the city we lived in it was very common for parents to put their kids in swimming lessons and my parents through it was important I knew how to swim well. I guess I really liked the feeling of being in the water and never stopped.
GS – Do you have a pre-meet routine?
TD – I take a shower every morning before going to the pool for the prelims session. That way I’m awake and ready to go when I get to the pool. I also only shave the night before no matter how long it takes.
GS – What is your favorite event to swim in?
TD – It changes every season really depending on how well that particular event is going throughout the season. Right now, I’d say it’s the 200 back (even though it’s one of the hardest races to swim well). I also really enjoy any relay I get to swim in; there’s something else about racing with 3 other guys that always get you that little bit more pumped for a race.
GS – What are you most looking forward to for the second half of the season?
TD – Taper time! I’m very excited to find out just how fast I’ll be swimming after a full taper come the end of February.
GS – If you could go on vacation with any teammate or coach who would you go with? Where would you go with them and why?
TD – I would go to Hawaii with Eitan because we both love to be by the beach and he would teach me how to surf. I would also go with Tim and Kyle because we are all very close.
Hidden Talent: can solve a rubric’s cube in under 2 minutes
Go to Karaoke Song: Eye of the tiger
One think you can’t live without: Ice cream
Favorite place to visit in Minneapolis: TCF Football Stadium
Favorite Netflix show to binge watch: Modern Family
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