DURHAM, N.C. – With the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships set to begin Thursday, March 28 in Indianapolis, Ind., GoDuke.com sat down with two-time NCAA champion Nick McCrory to learn more about the junior diver’s preparations for the championship meet.
GoDuke.com: Describe the process of training for last month’s ACC Championships, Zone Diving Championships and now preparing for the NCAA Championships.
Nick McCrory: The NCAA season is always kind of long. You have the ACC conference meet, and that’s something you want to be diving really well at so that involves a little bit of a taper and you want to peak for that. But then you have Zones a week and a half later, so right after ACCs is over you’ve got to get back into training mode. By the time Zones gets here, you’re a little beat down, a little tired but that’s a meet you also need to be diving well at to qualify for NCAAs. You want to be training through so that if you qualify you have the training behind you to peak at NCAAs. I think that’s where both Jordan [Long] and I are at right now. We’ve had good seasons and everything’s set us up well for NCAAs.
GoDuke.com: How does it feel to know teammate Jordan Long will also be competing at NCAAs?
NM: It’s awesome, it’s really exciting. It’s huge for Duke Swimming and Diving. I think that’s probably the first time ever that two male divers have gone to the same NCAA meet. My first two years I was the only diver, so obviously I’m going to enjoy having a teammate there this year.
GoDuke.com: Since you have competed on the national stage already and experienced success, do you feel any less nervous heading into this year’s NCAA Championships?
NM: I do know what to expect. NCAAs is honestly one of my favorite meets to go to because it’s so high-energy with all the swimmers there. I like to watch those events, and there’s always a really loud, big crowd so it just makes it exciting.
GoDuke.com: Given that you’ve focused a little more on the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events this season, what is your mindset as you prepare to compete in all three disciplines this week?
NM: My mindset going into it is just to go and dive and have fun. It’s going to be my last meet with Jordan since he’s a senior so I just want both of us to go and have fun and dive well. My focus is still on springboard but I’m going to be looking to do my best on platform also.
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?
NM: It will be a lot of fun. The diving community is pretty small so we all know each other and have been diving against each other for a while. There are a lot of people I’m looking forward to seeing. My buddy from Stanford, Kristian Ipsen, was also on the Olympic team and is going to be there. It’s going to be fun, some friendly competition. With guys from all over, it’s always fun to reconvene and dive against each other.
GoDuke.com: With both you and Jordan qualifying for NCAAs, what kind of statement does that make about the Duke program and diving coach Drew Johansen?
NM: A lot of the focus of Drew’s coaching has been on the whole Olympic run with me and Abby [Johnston]. But Drew has had a lot of success here at Duke in terms of the collegiate team as well. He had Jessica Lyden win an ACC championship last year, and that was in the midst of Abby and I’s preparation for London. And this year, to have Jordan qualify for NCAAs out of a really tough zone with only five spots was also huge. He’s doing a great job and it’s a testament to his coaching.
GoDuke.com: If you had to pick one thing, what are you looking forward to the most about the NCAA Championships?
NM: The steak dinner afterwards [laughs].