Athlete of the Week Archive

Dec. 21, 2007

LARAMIE, Wyo. -



Alex Larkin


You won the Mountain West Conference Championship in the 200 breaststroke as a freshman and in the 100 breaststroke as a sophomore, what were the differences in those two years?
"Both of them were a surprise I think. I didn't think I could win the 200 my freshman year so that was really exciting. In the 100 last year, another guy was ahead of me after the preliminaries and I thought for sure he was going to take it. I thought he would win that and I would come back and take the 200 again, but things flip flopped."

You have already qualified for the Olympic Trials this summer. How has that changed your training schedule?
"First of all, I stayed in Laramie the whole week before Christmas to train because of that. I am really shooting for the NCAA's before I worry about the Olympic Trials. I am on the boat that I will stick with TJ (coach Johnson) from now until the Trials and won't go home for any big periods of time so that we can mainly focus on the Trials in the long run and hopefully the NCAAs before that."

How did you end up coming to the University of Wyoming and did the tradition of great breaststrokers play into your decision?
"That tradition definitely had something to do with it. Scott Usher was just finishing up when I got here and was a fifth year assistant during my freshman year. That was a huge deal knowing that I would get to train with him. Also, I really liked the school and the town of Laramie. I am from a pretty small town in Oregon and I just really liked Laramie."

What is the deal with never wearing a swim cap? You usually swim with long hair for the drag during the season and then shave your head for the conference championships. Why do you do it that way?
"This year I have actually started wearing a cap and I like it. Usually I would just have my hair normal and use it for the drag. Then after Christmas, we grow our facial hair out until conference for even more drag. As for conference, I just really like shaving my head because it makes me feel like I go faster. Every little bit helps."

What other types of things do you do for drag?
"Definitely keep all of my body hair and wear a drag suit."

What does it feel like after tapering when you get to that big meet you have been training for?
"It feels great. Nobody tapers like we do at Wyoming. When we get on the blocks in every dual meet during the season we are sore and tired and a lot of schools don't do it like that. Finally, when you get to the big meet you have been training for your muscles and body feel great. It feels like you just fly off of the blocks. To add a shave to that is just a great thing."

Since you are a junior this year, do you feel like you have had to move into more of a leadership role for the team?
"Yeah I think that every upperclassman is looked up to as a leader by the younger kids. I try to always put a positive image out there for them. I also really try to help them out in practice if they need help with something. I like staying around after practice and helping them out with stuff when they need it."

Does one person stand out as a team comedian?
"Sam Shook for sure. He is always the guy who is making everyone laugh. Whether it is at a meet, in practice or at a meal, he always has a story that makes everyone laugh."

What song would you pick to come out to before a conference championship final?
"Last year I listened to my own headphones because I wasn't the number one seed and didn't get to pick the music. I listened to Eminem last year, but if I got to pick the music for the whole pool I would have to go with some AC/DC."

What are your Christmas plans?
"I am heading home on Friday, December 21 in the morning. I am mostly going to hang out with my mom, dad and sister. We always build a fire and hang out and watch a movie on Christmas Eve and then do presents the next morning. I am looking forward to just relaxing and spending time with the family because I haven't gotten to see them very much lately. Then I am coming back to Laramie on December 27 to get going again."

What are you asking Santa for?
"Probably a new jacket or a video IPod. The jacket would be great for the cold months we have ahead of us and an IPod would be great for all of our trips."

What is your favorite Christmas song?
"Chuck Berry's Run Rudolph Run."