June 18, 2009
Rising sophomore Eric Ress recently sat down with iuhoosiers.com to talk about the triumphs of his freshman season, as well as his experiences competing at the French National Championships.
How was freshman year for you?
"Freshman year went pretty good. It went a lot better than I expected. A lot of people have the misconception that freshman year is one of your slower years because you are not used to the transition from high school to college, but I really adapted well to the practices and my fellow freshmen and sophomores in my training group really made it a good year. The upperclassmen helped as well, but overall I really feel the underclassmen really helped me motivate myself and work through it."
What was your biggest thrill from last season?
"I would say going to NCAA's. Big Tens was also very exciting. The team environment at NCAA's wasn't quite what we wanted it to be (in terms of numbers), but the whole meet experience was very exciting and I hope to take some of what I learned into next season."
How hard was the transition from high school to college?
"One of the biggest differences was the amount of practice during the week, along with weight lifting. I high school, I only did one or two doubles a week and they weren't nearly as rigorous as they were here. And also, I didn't lift weights at all in high school. I didn't do any cross training or dryland. I think that is where some of my bigger improvements came, with the weight lifting both in and out of the pool. "
Do you feel better prepared now as you head into your sophomore year?
"I feel a lot better. Also, staying in the summer to train is going to set me up for a good transition into the next season. I am trying to train as consistently as I can throughout the summer to prepare myself for next year."
What was it like attending your first NCAA Championships?
"It was really overwhelming at first, but as the meet progressed it got a little better. The first day of the meet was very overwhelming. The 500 (freestyle) wasn't my best event going into the meet, but it really got me set and I said 'I qualified for this meet, I deserve to be here.' Once I realized that was when I real performed better."
Talk about your experience competing at the French Nationals recently.
"That was exciting. Seeing a bunch of world records at that meet, along with the whole suit controversy, was a pretty unique experience first hand. Some of those guys were wearing suits that are currently illegal to wear; in one of my events I was the only guy wearing a suit that is legal now. That was the 100 backstroke, where out of eight guys I was the only one who was wearing a LZR Racer instead of wearing a new suit, called the Jaked, which is no longer legal to wear. I dropped a lot of time and qualified for the World University Games, which is pretty exciting. I am really happy with that. I was trying to qualify for the World Championships and just missed it by two spots. But I can't complain. I posted two best times and swam really well."
What is it like to make the transition from swimming collegiately in the U.S. to international competition in France?
"My biggest difference was the way I attacked prelims. At NCAAs and Big Tens, you really have to lay it on the line in the morning. You can't just back off and try to go at a slower pace and make it back easily. At Big Tens and NCAAs you have to go all out, whereas at French Nationals and some of the other meets you don't have to go quite as fast in the morning. It is known that the NCAA Championships...they call it almost faster than the Olympics sometimes or second to the Olympics in terms of making it back because there is so much depth and there are foreign athletes and it makes it a lot more exciting."
Your father, Colin Ress, swam at Indiana and competed for France at the 1976 Olympics. What kind of influence has he had on you?
"My dad's influence is huge. The coaches know that as well. He has really helped me with my transition and has given me advice in both school and swimming. I am kind of following the same course of studies he did as well, and he gives me a lot of advice in training and keeps my head straight sometimes when I get down. A lot of the times when I get a little too stressed out with school or swimming he reminds me to have fun."
What kind of goals are you setting for yourself next year?
"I would like to place top 3 at NCAAs in both backstroke events and possibly the 500 freestyle, or another event if I swim another event. That is an individual goal, but for a team goal I'd like to bring a bigger team to NCAAs, bring some relays and also place better at Big Tens, both individually and as a team. I think next year's team is going to be a better team as the underclassmen who performed well last year will have grown older and matured a little bit and have more experience going into Big Tens."
What do you see for next year's team?
"We lost some pretty big guys like Matt Lenton
and A.J. Miller
in terms of scoring points at Big Tens, but at the end of the day our underclassmen really had a big influence on last year's team. I think with some really strong incoming freshmen, and like I said my freshman class and the sophomore class ahead of me is really good. I see us placing well at Big Tens if not next year, the year after. When I say that, I can't overlook next year's seniors because some of them who have not made the Big Ten team in the past will definitely make it next year and they've been making strides in the pool and have great leadership."