Athlete Spotlight: Kate Anderson
The pool is Kate Anderson’s second home. Kate is an extremely talented swimmer who recently transferred back to Edgemont to finish her senior year after completing her junior year at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida. Specializing in distance events such as the mile, Kate has committed to Virginia Tech to further her academic and swimming career. Kate currently swims for Badger Swim Club and is currently ranked the 12th fastest swimmer in New York. Here is an interview with Kate to get to know her better.
How did you get into swimming in the first place?
I always loved the water. When I was two years old, I used to launch myself off the diving board in my neighbor's backyard, and I would sink to the bottom. I would nearly drown because I didn’t know how to swim, so my parents started giving me swimming lessons. I then started swimming at the Jewish Community Center at 3 years old to continue to learn how to swim. Soon, the water became second nature to me.
Describe your worst sports performance. What did you learn from this experience?
My worst performance was at a swim meet at the Florida Gators' pool. It was the mile, and everyone couldn't breathe properly since the chlorine level was terrible. I remember coughing the night before until 3:00 in the morning. Also at another event at this meet, my foot cramped at the start when I jumped in. From this meet, I learned to trust my gut and scratch (an athlete’s term for choosing to sit out of an event) if I’m not feeling good. Now, I make sure to listen to my body and hydrate much more.
Describe the college process that led you to pick Virginia Tech (VT). What were the biggest challenges you faced?
VT was always on my top 5 school list. On my official visit to VT, I bonded with the coaches really well since they showed me they truly cared about me. I felt a sense of belonging, and they showed that they, too, really wanted me on the team. Even when I had calls and interviews with colleges, the calls I had with VT felt much more personal rather than other schools, where it felt robotic. I also fell in love with the facilities and campus right away and knew VT was the one.
How did going to Bolles School for your junior year help you as a swimmer? Why did you leave?
I Heard about Bolles from a swim friend, and I really liked what the program was about after doing some research on the school. I was more drawn to the school after learning about all the Olympians that came out of Bolles, which was a huge inspiration for me. I went to Bolles for my junior year, and the swim program was great since I got to lift twice a week (which I was new to) and had a great training schedule. However, I got really homesick, the nutrition there was not ideal, and the swimming coach that trained swimmers for distance events had left and never got replaced. Also, though the weight room was very helpful, it was not structured specifically for each person, leading me to get injured.
What are your preferred pre swim rituals/routines?
Before my events, I get in the pool and swim for as long as possible without stopping. Right before my race, If there is a wedge (the part of the diving block that the backfoot goes on to push off of), I adjust it. I definitely fidget a lot behind the diving block, fixing my goggles several times even if they don't need to be fixed and jump up a couple of times in the air before my race.
Which swimmer inspires you the most and why?
Katie Ledecky is my inspiration. She’s a beast in the water and races very fast even if she doesn't have competition in the lanes next to her to push her, which is a quality that every swimmer should have. I had the opportunity to race her, and I was a few lanes away from her, and though I was focused on myself, it was an amazing feeling knowing I was racing against my inspiration.
What is your favorite swimming event?
The mile is my favorite event, since I get in the zone and can sing a song over and over and go the same pace during the 66 laps. When I swim the mile, it's not a sharp pain like when I’m in a short-distance sprint, but rather a slow pain that is much more tolerable.
If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pasta Alfredo, without a doubt!
And a note from Kate to any athlete reading:
If you want to be the best at something, you have to do things other people aren’t willing to do. But, you also need to love what you do if you want to truly excel at it.