Senior Spotlight: Jessica Buchanan

Feb. 23, 2008

February 27 through March 1.

Jessica Buchanan has her sights set on those four days when the Washington women's swimming team will be competing at the Pac-10 Conference Championships in Long Beach, Calif. The senior from Reno, Nevada, is seeking to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the first time in her career and wants that berth to come from a career-defining moment when everything comes together ... the start, the turns, the finish.

'For me personally, I am hoping to snag at least one NCAA A cut and grab a couple of B cuts,' said Buchanan.

'The one thing that would truly make me happy is to have that one moment when you come into the wall knowing you gave it everything and you look up at the board only to see how fast you just went. That surprise, it's the greatest and most rewarding feelings in the world with this sport.'

A breaststroke specialist, Buchanan will most likely swim the 100 and 200 breast at the Pac-10 Championships. She currently holds the third-best time in Husky swimming history in the 100 breast and the fourth-best time in the 200 breast.

This year Buchanan won the 100 breast in a dual meet against Ohio State and also has three second-place finishes in the event to go along with three second-place finishes in the 200 breast.

Buchanan calls the Huskies dual meet win over No. 21 USC, a meet that also saw the UW men upset the 20th-ranked Trojan men, as 'hands down' the best moment of her senior season.

'Everyone was cheering for everyone else. All of the women were behind the men and all of the men were behind the women. That was definitely the most exciting dual meet we have had all season long, and the wins on both sides made it that much more memorable.'

Buchanan and the Huskies plan on carrying that success over to the Pac-10 Championships later this month, where they have a goal of finishing as one of the top four teams.

'From the very beginning we have said that we would like to be one of the top four teams at Pac-10s. We are hoping that a lot of us make NCAAs individually and for our relays to be in the top eight or top 10.'

For all her success, Buchanan doesn't hesitate in talking about the impact that second-year head coach Whitney Hite has had on her and her teammates.

'Where do I even begin when talking about training under Whitney. He's an absolutely incredible coach who has so much knowledge, experience and passion for the sport of swimming and it's really starting to show (in our results).'

Four years ago Buchanan came to the UW as a wide-eyed freshman out of Reno High School, and after taking a visit during the spring of her senior year, she immediately knew that Washington was the place for her.

'I'm from Reno, which isn't the biggest city out there and is set in the desert, so the second I flew into Seattle I was hooked. Everything was green and fortunately for me the sun was shining. It was gorgeous out!

'Right away I loved the team and I felt like I fit in. My team back home was very small and was made up of about ninety-five percent girls, so to see a team where both the men and women hung out together outside of the pool ... I knew I wanted to go here.'

Buchanan will graduate this June with a degree in Art IVA (Interdisciplinary Visual Arts) and a minor in architecture. She plans to stay in Seattle for the time being and pursue an internship in interior design while taking a year off from school.

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