Oct. 30, 2012
GopherSports.com sat down with a few of Minnesota’s freshmen swimmers and divers. This week's edition is Kelowna, British Columbia native Kierra Smith. The Big Ten Swimmer of the Week and the two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week has already earned four event victories and helped the team to a 4-0 start. Below is a short question and answer session with the rookie.
Gophersports: What is your favorite part about the U so far?
Kierra Smith: I really like the Tea Garden. The blueberry vanilla with tapioca pearls, that’s my favorite part about the U.
GS: Did you always know you wanted to swim for Minnesota?
KS: Out of all of my trips, I was most comfortable coming here because of Jillian Tyler. She came here from Canada and did so well, so I figured it was a safe choice. And the team, it just felt like a good fit.
GS: Are there some major difference between British Columbia and Minnesota?
KS: There are times when it’s frustrating, just certain words and stuff that don’t translate, like “washroom.” You know how Minnesota people say “you’re fine”, like you say sorry and they say, “you’re fine.” It doesn’t make any sense. I’ve never heard it before. Also, sports are more involved and centered in the community here, so it’s a lot more fun to be an athlete. Other than that, it’s really similar to home. It’s difficult not being able to call whenever I want because it’s long distance. Things like that get frustrating, but you work around it. I’m getting a lot more used to it as the months go.
GS: How has the classroom transition from high school to college been?
KS: I love it. In high school, I found it totally appropriate to fall asleep in class because it went a lot slower paced and the next day you would review everything. Here you have to listen in lecture. I love it because I don’t fall asleep now and I just find it way more interesting.
GS: Do you know what you want to major in?
KS: I’m looking at communications and a minor in global studies.
GS: What was one of your favorite memories either at the high school or club level?
KS: My favorite memory is my coach back home. He was from Bulgaria, so he had a really thick accent and he didn’t do things very conventionally. I just really miss his methods and explanations of everything and his ideas of why things should be done. He believed I shouldn’t straighten my hair because it’s a waste of time. If I was trying to impress a boy, the next day he’d see it curly anyways. And that it would make no difference if you were going to go see someone you know.
GS: Has it been tough to transition to new coaches?
KS: No, it’s been really easy. It’s been so positive, just a really positive atmosphere.
GS: Have the upperclassmen helped you out?
KS: Yes, definitely. Just getting to the grocery store and everything, they’ve been so helpful.
GS: What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t in the pool?
KS: Listen to Taylor Swift. Every week she’s come out with a new song, so for the past month I’ve just been playing the same song for the entire week on repeat. And Pinterest, I really enjoy pinning.
GS: What are you the most excited for as this season kicks off?
KS: I’m most excited for Big Ten’s and I hope we can win it again. I’m also really excited to see my parents. My mom is coming up for the Grand Prix, so I’m really excited for that.