GoDuke.com: What has your training schedule been like since last month's ACC Championships meet?
Lauren Weaver: We had one day to recover and then we were back into training. [Christine Wixted]'s was a little tougher than mine because I'm only swimming the 50. But we also got thrown back into doing weights, so we were pretty sore that first week. We'd already achieved the goal of making NCAAs and the end was in sight, so that made it pretty easy to get through it.
GoDuke.com: What advice have you received from the Duke coaching staff about your first NCAA Championships appearance?
LW: They've really just been relaxed since we already made the meet. They're telling us to just go have fun. The first practice back, I had done warm-up and I was just swimming, and Dan [Colella] was sitting on one of the blocks. He looked at me and was just like, 'You realize that since you made it, you have just as much of a shot as anyone else to make All-American? It's completely possible.' Just knowing that our coaches believe in us and knowing that it's completely plausible is good motivation.
GoDuke.com: Having gone up against some pretty good competition in the 50 freestyle at the ACC Championships, what are your expectations for the field at NCAAs?
LW: There are some pretty fast girls in the PAC-10 and the SEC. The top seed, [Arizona's Margo Geer], I swam against in Ohio my entire life, so I'm pretty used to fast sprinters. I just love sprinting. I know what the competition's going to be like. I'm just going to go all-out and do everything perfectly and hope it goes well.
GoDuke.com: Have you had time to reflect on everything the team and you individually have accomplished this season?
LW: We had a really successful season. I think everyone was really happy with ACCs. It was the best ACCs I've ever been a part of, and it's possible that it was the best ACCs that Dan's had since he's been here. We rewrote the record board and our freshmen did well - everyone did really well. The two of us making NCAAs is definitely a step in the right direction of where we want to go in the future. Next year, we could have even more people go to NCAAs and maybe a couple of relays.
GoDuke.com: How does it feel to know teammate Christine Wixted will also be in Indianapolis competing?
LW: It's definitely nice to have someone else that's going through the same thing. We're both going through it for the first time together. I think we're both pretty relaxed about it and just excited to be going. It will be a whole new experience, and hopefully it will show the nation that Duke swimming is trending up.
GoDuke.com: Will the reality of qualifying for NCAAs sink in when you get to the pool in Indianapolis and experience the entire atmosphere?
LW: It will really sink in when we get there. At these big meets, everything is always so official. There are always checks to make sure you're an athlete and you're supposed to be there. It's kind of weird because normally no one's really checking anything. The stands will be packed. I'm used to swimming at IUPUI because I'm from Ohio - an hour and a half away. I've swam big meets there, but never anything like NCAAs where the stands are going to be packed. This will be a new experience.
GoDuke.com: What does your qualification mean for the Duke Swimming and Diving program and the direction the program is headed?
LW: I think it sets a sort of benchmark. I'm excited for next year's freshman class to come in. I think we can do big things, and it shows them that Dan, Dawn [Kane] and Jesse [Moore] know what they're doing and that they'll come here and they'll get faster and go on to the NCAA Championships.