Cougar of the Week: 01/22

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Cougar Karina Urqhart taken by Jonathan EdelmanKarina Urquhart (’17) transferred to Clark this school year and has been a top finisher in almost every meet for the women’s swimming and diving team. She recently placed second in the 200-yard Individual Medley (IM) on January 9 in a meet against Wheaton and Mount Holyoke.

Scarlet: What events do you compete in the most?

Urquhart: In the past I’ve done distance freestyle a lot, but this year, my coach is having me do a lot of IM and butterfly. It’s fun, I’m really enjoying it.


Scarlet: Why are you doing different events now?

Urquhart: I had a coach growing up who thought that specializing in events was never really a good thing, so I always kind of swam everything. If you didn’t have a time, she would put you in that event automatically, so I never really specialized in anything.


Scarlet: Do you prefer it that way?

Urquhart: I get bored really easy with the same thing over and over, so yeah.


Scarlet: How long have you been swimming?

Urquhart: Eight or nine years.


Scarlet: What led you to start swimming?

Urquhart: I started taking swimming lessons in fifth grade, but then I ran out of those, so I joined the swim team in my hometown. And I hated it [laughs] but I kept with it for some reason.


Scarlet: What made you keep with it?

Urquhart: I think I just liked the people. I just had friends that I could relate with on the swim team.


Scarlet: Was there ever a moment when you almost quit?

Urquhart: In junior high, I would be “sick” every day after school, so I would skip a lot of practice, but I swam with this girl who was really, really fast. And we swam together in high school during my freshman year and it was her senior year. When she graduated, it was like someone had to step up and take her position on the team, so I guess I kind of put it on myself, and then I started to work harder and started to like swimming.


Scarlet: Have you found a similar sense of camaraderie in college swimming as when you started out?

Urquhart: I sense it a lot more now.


Scarlet: A lot more now?

Urquhart: Well I’m a transfer student, I didn’t know if you knew that, but this is my first year here. I came in from Drew University. I’m a sophomore. Last year, there was no team aspect for me. I just didn’t really fit in there. I missed that a lot, and swimming got really hard without the team behind me.


Scarlet: How important does the team aspect play into swimming?

Urquhart: I think it plays in a lot. Probably equal to about the physical stuff, if not more.


Scarlet: Yeah, from an outside perspective, that seems like the main reason to stay with it. I can’t imagine people doing it without that team aspect.

Urquhart: [Laughs] Yeah. They’re the ones going through it with you, and they’re really the only ones who understand how much it sucks. But it’s a lot of fun here, and we have a lot of fun.


Scarlet: Do you have any other hobbies outside of swimming?

Urquhart: Ummm, sleeping? [Laughs] Does that count? No, I like art, and I used to like photography a lot, but I’ve kind of stopped with that for a little bit.


Scarlet: Are you majoring in art?

Urquhart: I’m a studio art minor.


Scarlet: What are you majoring in?

Urquhart: Environmental Science.


Scarlet: Does swimming get in the way of art?

Urquhart: Yeah, it’s hard to manage time.


Scarlet: What is Clark like during swim season? How do you manage this?

Urquhart: Well, right now, I got like ten hours of sleep last night so I’m great, but we usually swim before the crack of dawn, so it doesn’t really interfere with your day, except for the naps [you have to take]. I don’t know, it just takes a lot of time management and you have to get really good at it. And growing up swimming, you just become good at it.


Scarlet: I’ve heard from other people on the team that they usually manage their time much better during season.

Urquhart: Yeah. Outside of swim season, you have so much free time, and you think it’s going to last forever. It doesn’t.


Scarlet: How was the Puerto Rico trip with the team over winter break?

Urquhart: It was great. It was so much fun. I went on a training trip with my last team, and it just didn’t compare to this one. This one was so much better. I mean, it helps that I like everyone on the Clark team.