DURHAM, N.C. – With the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships just days away from kicking off in Indianapolis, Ind., GoDuke.com caught up with NCAA qualifier Jordan Long to learn more about the senior diver’s preparations for the championship meet.
GoDuke.com: Between the ACC Championships, Zone Diving Championships and now getting ready for the NCAA Championships, what has your training schedule been like over the past month?
Jordan Long: For diving, it’s a bit different than swimming because we don’t really taper. We’ve kind of just been doing the same thing. [Diving coach] Drew [Johansen], especially when we get closer to meets, he puts us through meet-mode atmosphere training. We’ll do a warmup and then have a little competition in practice to get a feel for a meet environment. It doesn’t really change too much other than continuing to do the dives you’re competing.
GoDuke.com: How excited were you about your performance on the 3-meter board at Zones and qualifying for the NCAA Championships?
JL: It was a dream come true. I’ve wanted this for eight years now. I didn’t think it would be possible. Once I got to college, I thought it would be really cool if I could do that. This year, I’ve just worked harder than I have before and it’s finally paid off. I think it still hasn’t hit me that I’m going to be going to NCAAs so we’ll see once I get there.
GoDuke.com: Will the reality of qualifying for NCAAs sink in once you get to the pool in Indianapolis and experience the entire atmosphere?
JL: Especially with Nick [McCrory] having gone to some of them before, he’s mentioned it’s one of the highest-energy meets he’s been to, even some international meets. He said that this environment is one of the coolest things to be a part of because there’s so much energy. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure it will settle in once I’m there.
GoDuke.com: How does it feel to know teammate Nick McCrory will also be competing at NCAAs and has experienced success there before?
JL: I’m not as nervous for this meet as I was for Zones and qualifying for this. I kind of just want to take it all in and do the best I can. There’s not really much pressure for me other than to do my best because this is the peak of my career and I couldn’t ask for a better way to finish it off. But having Nick there, he knows the ropes and what to expect. He’s always been there to help me through anything. With Nick being there, it will be really cool.
GoDuke.com: Given that you’ll be competing against a group of divers you know and have seen dive before, how does that help you going into the meet?
JL: I’m sure it will help me because I know what to expect. I know what I’m capable of and I know of who I’m competing against, I’ve competed against them before so it’s not like there are going to be any big surprises. And we are such a small community so it’s not like we’re big rivals with the other divers. We get along really well, especially in practice and warmups, we joke around and have fun. It’s a friendly environment.
GoDuke.com: With you and McCrory both qualifying for NCAAs, what kind of statement does that make about the Duke program and diving coach Drew Johansen?
JL: Drew’s been one of the most successful coaches in the sport of diving, especially so quickly. He comes in here and builds a program up within four or five years. Even through my time, all the success he’s had in the program has grown tremendously. I think this is just another stepping stone to it becoming even greater and better. Having both of us go speaks to what the program is capable of. You work hard and train with Drew and be a good athlete, then good things will come to you.
GoDuke.com: Reflecting back on the last four years, how do you feel about the way you’ve progressed and qualifying for NCAAs as a senior?
JL: It couldn’t have been more perfect. It feels like it was meant to be almost, especially because I knew freshmen year that it was a long shot to make NCAAs. But each year, it’s just been that much closer to being a reality. And then going to that Zone meet and everything falling into place and everything paying off and making the one meet that I’ve always dreamed of making, I couldn’t honestly ask for a better way to end my whole career.