Olympic Hopeful Q&A with Lauren Rogers
June 30, 2008
CalBears.com spoke to California women's swimmer Lauren Rogers before the end of the 2007-08 school year about her dream of competing in the Summer Olympics. A junior in the recently completed college season, Rogers helped the Golden Bears take fifth place at the NCAA Championships in March.
CalBears.com: What events are you trying to qualify for?
Rogers: 'I'm swimming the 200-back and the 100-back, but I'm primarily hoping on making the team in the 100-back.'
CalBears.com: What kind of sacrifices have you made in trying to reach the Olympics?
Rogers: 'I've always wanted to go the Olympics since I was little. I qualified for trials at my first national meet. I went to the Olympic trials in 2004 not really expecting to make it but going to have fun. I ended placing fifth in the 100 back, which was surprising to even make it to finals my first time there. I think this year, I'm going in with a legitimate shot of making it. It gives me a different mental perspective so I'm hoping that will help more. It's kind of hard for a little bit because I wasn't swimming very well last year, I had some health issues like anemia. This year, I've been swimming a lot better and I think I have a pretty good shot of making it.'
CalBears.com: How challenging is it to be in school, competing for Cal and training for the Olympics?
Rogers: 'It's really hard. Obviously at Cal, the academics are going to be quite challenging. It's especially hard right now because we're in finals week, but we have an important Santa Clara meet coming up. At least the Olympic trials are in summer so that gives us at least a month to refocus. Yes, we've been training for trials for the past four years but I think right now is when everyone's getting really focused.'
CalBears.com: When did you first dream of going to the Olympics?
Rogers: 'When I first decided I wanted to go to the Olympics, I was really young. I didn't really understand how difficult it was, I just decided I was going. As I grew up, I learned how difficult it was to make the team, which was discouraging. But I found that I still had the abilities if I believed in myself enough to make it. Especially after the 2004 trials, when I came a lot closer than I expected, that was kind of a wake-up call for me. Since then, I've had a more realistic approach to making the team.'
CalBears.com: How has Cal helped you attain this dream?
Rogers: 'Cal has done a lot in helping me grow. I've had to work through some hard times. Cal has helped me grow and mature as a woman. It's also helped me mentally in taking on the challenge of making the team.'
CalBears.com: Is there anyone you look up to as a role model?
Rogers: 'I've always looked up to Natalie Coughlin. She swims the same events as me. I've been kind of living in her shadow since I was younger because we swam on the same club team and went to the same high school and I went to the same college as her. Since I do swim the same events as her, which is hard because if I had gone to any other school, I could have broken school records. I think that helps me to always take that first step and not fall short of my capabilities.'
CalBears.com: Who has been the biggest influence on you and your training?
Rogers: 'My parents, obviously. They were the ones that would get me up at 4:30 in the morning and drive me to 5 o'clock morning practice, cooked me my meals so I could stay healthy and train. They obviously had a good role in supporting me and keeping me going. They played a huge role in helping me stay with the sport and do the little things.'
CalBears.com: When did you first start swimming?
Rogers: 'I first started swimming a summer rec league. The only reason I got in the pool was because we had just moved to California when I was six, it was hot, and my parents wanted to get to know people in the neighborhood. We wanted to join the swim club, but membership was all full so I tried out for the swim team. The coach said I was really good and I took to it and just loved the sport. Being good at it was an added on plus. I swam summer league for a few years then started going year round when I was 10, and I swam with that team until I came to Cal.'