Cougar of the Week: 11/06

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Melissa Orzechowski | Photo: Celine Manneville

Melissa Orzechowski | Photo: Celine Manneville

Melissa Orzechowski (’17) has blown opponents out of the water in her first two meets this season. In the women’s swimming team’s meet against Babson on Saturday, Orzechowski placed first in the 200 yard Freestyle, the 500 yard individual medley (IM), and the 1,000 yard freestyle. Her performance helped propel Clark over the Babson Beavers and give the team a 2-0 record for the season.

Scarlet: What was it like at the end of the 1000 yard freestyle race, were you just like, “Where is everybody?”?

Orzechowski: Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking that yet because I was just so exhausted. It was a nice extra rest to just get to lay there, and then I was cheering for the rest of my team to come in.

Scarlet: Do you notice yourself swimming faster than usual this year?

Orzechowski: I think in my non-normal events, I was faster last meet just because I hadn’t swam those in a while and it was just fun, but I think I am still consistent with how I was at the beginning of my first year.

Scarlet: Which events are your non-normal events?

Orzechowski: The previous meet, I did IM, I did short races, so that was different for me.

Scarlet: Do you place any added pressure on yourself going forward since you haven’t lost a race yet?

Orzechowski: I try not to. These past few meets haven’t been our most competitive ones yet, so it gives you a sense of confidence, but we have some tough ones coming up. So, I don’t expect that to continue necessarily.

Scarlet: How does the team look this year?

Orzechowski: We lost [some people], but I think depth wise, we’re a lot better, and the people who came back really want to be on the team, so we’re all committed.

Scarlet: What can you deduce from the season so far?

Orzechowski: I think our coach is putting in competitive lineups, and we’re all doing our best… We’re putting in some weird things that we’re not used to, but everybody’s handling it well.

Scarlet: When did you start swimming competitively?

Orzechowski: I started swimming on a team when I was six. We had a pool in our backyard, and my parents just wanted us to know how to swim, so it kind of started from there, and then we liked it. That was kind of like the rec team, and then I started USA swimming when I was ten.

Scarlet: Where does USA swimming take place?

Orzechowski: All throughout Connecticut, and then you have the Connecticut championships, and then if you’re good enough you go to Connecticut team to do Zones, and that’s kind of like New England Championships.

Scarlet: How rigorous was that compared to Clark swimming?

Orzechowski: It was different in that I didn’t live there, so it was more work to get to swimming, but it was still two hours every day. We also do dry land here because it’s easier that you’re already living here.

Scarlet: How does being in season affect your daily schedule?

Orzechowski: I usually have to go to bed by ten because we get up at five or six most of the week, so it’s pretty difficult.

Scarlet: I imagine it helps to live with other people on the team to make that work.

Orzechowski: Yeah, actually I live in a suite and my roommate is actually a rower, but I live with two other swimmers, so we have pretty similar schedules.

Scarlet: What did you miss most about the swimming team?

Orzechowski: I missed the people mostly. This is an awesome team, it’s so fun to be on, all the competitiveness between us.

Scarlet: What is being on a swim team like?

Orzechowski: It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of crying in your goggles, a lot of lack of sleep, a lot of team bonding. It’s a lot different than other sports, but in its uniqueness, it’s really fun.

Scarlet: What’s unique about it?

Orzechowski: We like to say that when we get ten seconds rest, that’s a lot of rest for us. You get a couple seconds to talk to each other, and then hold your breath and go.

Orzechowski and the rest of the women’s swimming team will travel to Wellesley for their third meet on Saturday, November 8 at 1 p.m.