Women’s swimming and diving freshman Mackenzie Padington is having a stellar freshman season so far as she has eight first place finishes, multiple weekly Big Ten awards, and holds the school record in the 200 free. GopherSports.com sat down with the Campbell River, B.C. native to learn more about her before she heads off to the Big Ten Championships this weekend.
GopherSports.com - How has the transition been from high school swimming to college swimming?
Mackenzie Padington - For me it hasn't been that bad because I was in a program last year where I trained a lot. The biggest transition for me has been the team atmosphere, the team atmosphere is way better here. I just love swimming with a bunch of people because it feels like we are a family.
GS - How does it feel to hold the record in the 200 free as a freshman?
MP - It was a great feeling seeing that I can go that fast in the middle of the year and it was really a confidence booster. I think just to be on that record board and see all the other people, it is just a really great goal to strive for and being up there already has made me happy.
GS - What is your favorite event to swim in?
MP - I really like the 200 free, but my favorite event is an event I don't swim, the 200 breast short course meters.
GS - What led you to come to Minnesota?
MP - Kierra Smith really sold me on it and I really liked Kelly [Kremer]. Kelly and the rest of the coaching staff were a big thing for me and the elementary education program that i’m in is really great too.
GS - Do you have any pre-meet routines or superstitions?
MP - Well I have a pre-race one, I always have to splash water on myself and spit water up in the air so it goes over my head. It is a thing that I have done for a while, and when I get on the block I always need to clap my hands three times
GS - How did you get involved with swimming?
MP - My mom always said it was a life saving skill and you needed it so I was just really thrown into it. I did other sports along the way, but it was really my sisters that made me want to keep doing it. I wanted to aspire to be like them, not just in swimming but in life too.
GS - You have placed in the top five team times in all of your events and have the best time in three of the events, how have you been able to have such a successful freshman campaign?
MP - It hasn't just been me, but the people around me pushing me. I think it is the consistency of the coaching staff telling me what I need to do and what I need to do better and the really positive people on our team that are always there, like Chantal Nack, who is probably the person on the team that I look up to the most and we swim the exact same races.
Favorite Spot on Campus: Tim Hortons
Qdoba or Chipotle: Qdoba
Best Pizza Topping: Cheese
One thing you can’t live without: My stuffed Olaf
Strangest Talent: I can put my entire fist in my mouth
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