UAA men’s 4×100 freestyle relay champs
When junior David Chao dove off the block to anchor Washington University’s 400 freestyle relay, he trailed the leader from University Athletic Association swimming titan Emory by nearly one second. What ensued was 100 yards of what Chao described as one of the best races of his Wash. U. career as he led the team of senior captain Dan Arteaga, freshman Mark Minowitz and junior Kartik Anjur to a UAA championship for the event. This week, all four relay champions are Student Life’s Male Athletes of the Week.
Student Life: How does it feel to be a UAA champion?
Dan Arteaga: It was actually kind of bittersweet because we had not done as well as expected in previous relays during the meet, but it was definitely a great moment when we did win that relay; it was something that we really needed at the end of the meet. It was a really good swim for all of us and it really did get us motivated, but it was unfortunate that it happened at the end of the meet and not the beginning of the meet.
SL: It seems like this relay has been the exciting race all year. Do you think this is your best relay, or does another stick out in your mind?
DA: Traditionally our 800 freestyle relay is our best relay, but we just don’t swim it in normal meets in season. Our 800 freestyle relay got third at nationals last year, and our 400 freestyle relay got touched out for fifth. It’s usually our second best relay. It’s always very close, too; we’ve had more than one relay that was close this year, with DePauw and a few other meets too—it came down to the last guy.
Student Life: Talk about your anchor leg at UAA championships.
David Chao: The meet itself started off really slow.Wwe weren’t really getting the times that we wanted, so progressively each day we were getting better and better. The 400 was the last event of the meet…I really wanted to end out the conference meet with a bang. We were behind for most of the relay for the first three legs. I dove in almost a second after the Emory anchor leg, and I love anchoring relays, I guess that’s my thing—I get so amped up for them. But when I saw that guy diving in front of me, there was no way I was going to let him win. I ended up beating him by half a second, so I was just really excited to look up at the scoreboard after I finished and see that I touched him out…I can swim well under pressure, and usually some of my best swims come under that. I think the reason for that is that I know the whole team is riding on my shoulders, and just the expectations of that can lead me to faster swims rather than just cracking under pressure.
Student Life: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
DC: Right now for us to make it to nationals, our relays have to be top 10…Our 400 free relay is ranked seventh, and 800 free relay is ranked eighth, and some teams haven’t swum their conference meets. They have the potential of knocking us down in the rankings…It’s kind of a waiting game to see how many of us will go to nationals, so what we’re going to do is this weekend is go to U. Chicago for kind of a last-chance meet, and we’re going to try and post faster times for the relays to try and send more guys to nationals. Right now that’s our top priority—to send as many guys to nationals as we can.