GoDuke.com: What sort of training cycle has the team been completing since the last dual meet of the season on Jan. 26?
Lauren Weaver: We've been slowly coming down. Practices are getting shorter and shorter, which as a sprinter is great for me. You go through stages where at the beginning of taper you get really tired. I'm starting to feel that speed and power.
GoDuke.com: What are your expectations for the ACC Championships, given that you've competed against a lot of other teams in the conference during the regular season?
LW: I feel really good, especially for our 200 medley relay. It's exciting - we beat Virginia, we beat UNC. I'm ready to surprise the ACC and hopefully make NCAAs. For myself, I feel pretty good about the 50 [freestyle] and my 100 is really coming along, so I think I should hopefully drop some serious time.
GoDuke.com: How have you seen the program's freshmen progress since the beginning of the season?
LW: Chelsea Ye has been strong at every meet. She's done really well, and I'm excited to see what she'll do. Kathryn Eckhart is going to do really well in the sprints. In high school she was really great. I swim with her every day, and I know she's going to swim fast. I'm excited to watch her.
GoDuke.com: Is there any sort of adjustment in mindset going from dual meets during the regular season to ACCs?
LW: This is my third year. I just get excited for championship season now. My freshman year, I was really nervous because I didn't know what to expect. Now I just get excited, and that's how I swim fast. I think you have to be prepared and have confidence in your training.
GoDuke.com: What sort of message does head coach Dan Colella have for the team at this time of the year?
LW: He's telling us to trust our training. There may be days that you don't feel super great in the water, but that's just a part of the process. His saying is, 'Focus on the process.' Especially during taper, you can't really listen to what your body is saying to you. He wants us to all stay positive and really have faith in our training.
GoDuke.com: How have you seen the program make strides at the ACC Championships during your time here?
LW: Each year, we've gotten more and more top finishes. Hopefully this year we'll have some relays on the podium. I have a lot of faith in our relays. I think that's going to be the big step that we take this year.
The ACC Women's Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Feb. 20-23 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Check back to GoDuke.com Tuesday for a complete preview of the conference championships.