Olympic Q&A with Jernej Godec

July 21, 2008

BERKELEY - CalBears.com caught up with Jernej Godec and asked him about swimming for Slovenia in his second Summer Olympics this August in Beijing. A product of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Godec completed his Cal career at the NCAA Championships last March, when he placed sixth in the 50-yard freestyle and 12th in the 100 free. On relays, he was part of the Bears' national runner-up 400-medley relay as well as the third place 200 free, 400-free and 200-medley relays. He anchored Slovenia's 400 medley relay in the 2004 Athens Olympics and placed 12th in both the 50 free and 50 butterfly at the 2007 World Championships.

CalBears.com: What events did you qualify in?

Godec: 'I am qualified to swim 50 freestyle at the upcoming Olympic games, and I will be representing my country, Slovenia. '

CalBears.com: How did your Olympic qualification work?

Godec: 'Since my country is pretty small, especially when it comes to swimming. The team manager sets the time for each event - it is a little bit off of the A standard for the International Olympic Committee, but it is almost the A standard. That's the time you need to make in order to go. I had to do it in a meter situation, and I did it at the past World Championships in Melbourne, and I had to confirm the time this year.'

CalBears.com: What's the biggest sacrifice you've had to make to try to reach the Olympics?

Godec: 'It isn't all about training; a big part of your training is recovery, and doing things outside the water. One thing I had to sacrifice is my social life, because of all the things I do in school and in swimming I don't have much time to do other things.'

CalBears.com: What are you looking forward to the most in Beijing?

Godec: 'After being to Athens, what I am looking forward to the most is the experience of being there. The whole idea of so many athletes, the best athletes of each country living together in the Olympic Village for the few weeks I'll be there.'

CalBears.com: How challenging is it to be in school, compete at Cal this season and train for the Olympics?

Godec: 'It's tough. I guess the past four years have taught me how to manage my time pretty well. I manage to do everything.'

CalBears.com: What is your favorite memory of a past Olympics?

Godec: 'The experience of being there, the cafeteria where all the athletes eat together. I try to meet new people, aside from being with my team. I just start talking to other people.'

CalBears.com: When did you first dream of the Olympics or know when you wanted to become an Olympian?

Godec: 'The Olympics always seemed something unreachable; they were out of my comfort zone. When I actually saw myself going there was after I was already qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics. It was a sense of relief; it is a mixture of excitement and relief.'

CalBears.com: How has Cal helped you attain this dream?

Godec: 'The training here is excellent, the facilities, the coaching staff, the swimming, the weight room is the [best] you can get. That helped. My ambitions to pursue my academic paths, I think I wouldn't be as happy if I just stayed at home training. It'd be in the back of my head haunting me that all I'm doing is swimming, which would be unfulfilling for me. At Cal I was able to combine both at an exceptional level.'

CalBears.com: Who has been the biggest influence on you and your training?

Godec: 'A person who has had a lot of influence in my life is my father. He has always been a rock I can rely on for any help I need.'

CalBears.com: How did you first become involved in swimming?

Godec: 'My parents enrolled me in swimming because my older sister was. She didn't pursue swimming as far as I did, but she is very proud of me.'

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