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Getting To Know Rae-Anne Serville

Nov 12, 2020

Freshman Rae-Anne Serville is in her first season as a 400m runner on the USC track and field team.  She owns the Trinidad and Tobago junior record in the 400m dash with a time of 52.89.  Her international experience includes competing at the 2018 World Junior Championships in Finland the 2019 Pan Am Games in Costa Rica and the 2019 NACAC Championships in Mexico. 
Q: How is your semester going?
R.S.: Not terrible, so that's good! It's a bit different from how I thought it would have been a few months ago, obviously, but not bad. Just trying at first to learn how Blackboard works and stuff like that. But it's cool, I'm in contact with my coaches and my professors.
Q: What influenced your decision to attend and run for USC?
R.S.: All my life at every school I've been to, the focus was academics. Only recently track and field has become a major part of my life, so choosing my college now was [a question of] which school has the best balance of athletics and academics. And, literally, when I looked it up on U.S. News, there was an app called Niche that rates schools, and USC was the highest track and field school. So I was like, "okay, cool!" And I did my own research, and I found Coach Caryl, and it just seemed like a really great place to be.
Q: Are you enjoying your classes, and do you have a favorite?
R.S.: I enjoy all of them, and I think each of them has its own stresses, so it's a little hard to choose a favorite. I take biology and a French 370 class—somehow I ended up in an upper class and didn't even realize it—it's about the Enlightenment, so the 18th century. Another class that I have is Identity Development of the Contemporary Female that's strictly athletes, and I'm in an Islam in America class. They all have different aspects that get you thinking.
Q: You're a Health and Human Sciences major. What inspired you to study that field?
R.S.: Well initially, I had Biological Sciences for my major, because I love asking questions, finding out how things work and stuff like that, and biology was relevant, too, because it's like, "that's my body, this is how it works, that's so cool!" So initially, I went into Biological Sciences, but I found it was strictly just facts, like, literally just medicine. And I found the Health and Human Sciences major had a more social aspect, where I could see how to implement this in real life, and how I could apply this to society and actually make a difference rather than just learn how my body works.
Q: What is your proudest achievement from high school?
R.S.: In track, I broke our national junior record for Trinidad and Tobago, so that was a great moment for me. Academically, I guess it was just getting through exams. In the Caribbean, we have regional exams, and they basically kept getting postponed because we couldn't meet up to do the exams. Just getting through that, and getting it done was great.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory from a past practice or competition?
R.S.: In the Caribbean, we have CARIFTA. Usually in the country of Trinidad itself, we have different clubs that run, and we're very competitive, so there are club feuds and stuff like that. But when you make a national team, it's all these people from different clubs from across the country. So being on a national team, usually they have a closing ceremony, and one time, all of us were just singing Soca, they had Soca on the radio, and all of us were jumping up and down singing, and Barbados was with us, too. So there's this video where you just see a sea of red and black, and a sea of blue and yellow, and everybody's jumping. It was fun, it was a nice experience.
Q: When did you know that the 400m was the event for you?
R.S.: Funny story: I did not want to do the 400m at all. It's just a hard race. I used to do 100 and 200, and I think I either ended up running it by accident or my coach saw that I had great endurance and he was like, "try the 400." I had the speed and the endurance, and the 400 just needs those two, that's like a perfect mix. I tried it, and I happened to be good at it, and I just kind of went with that and it's turned out really great.
Q: Do you have any particular goals for this upcoming season?
R.S.: I would like to break my country's senior record as a junior. This coming season is my last under 20, so it would be pretty cool to run the fastest time ever in my country's history as a junior still. So that would be breaking my fastest time of 52.89 seconds in the 400, so [my goal is] to break 51. Or even 50 would be great.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this year?
R.S.: This year, I guess figuring out myself, in terms of how [right now] I'm reliant on my mom, I have my sisters to help take care of and stuff like that. But once I return to campus I can focus on me, and figure out myself, like how do I take care of myself, what do I want to do. So definitely just embracing college life and figuring myself out.
Q: Do you have any random talents that most people might not know about?
R.S.: I'm a surprisingly good drawer. I like still life stuff. I'm not that great with people's faces, unless it's a side profile—head-on it's a little more difficult. But I don't know, give me anything to draw, [whether] it's a picture of fruit or a building, and it comes out pretty realistic, which is cool.
Q: What are you doing to stay sane in times like these?
R.S.: Definitely human interaction. I try to get off my laptop and actually spend time with my family outside in the living room, but also keeping in touch with friends, talking to some of them every day, or when I can, phone calls, stuff like that. And training has started up again, so yes, we have to socially distance, but definitely that kind of contact in a sense, that kind of community, is helpful.