DURHAM, N.C. -- Recently, GoDuke.com sat down with senior Hunter Knight to learn more about the Richmond, Va., native.
GoDuke.com: What are your three favorite things about being a student-athlete at Duke?
Hunter Knight: The first one has to be the team. It is basically my family of brothers and sisters and it is really cool to have that. I guess it is the overall life experience you get from it. Along with that, you are competing for a college. It’s a really unique experience that not everyone can obviously complete and something looking back on I am really happy that I did. I feel college would have been incomplete without that. Finally, I think just the things that you learn from it. Obviously you learn time management skills and stuff like that, but you really learn how to be a leader and how to adapt to different situations and handle adversity well.
GoDuke.com: What is your favorite memory related to competition?
HK: For me personally, I would have to go with last year at ACC’s because of how well I did. I think my favorite memory of competition was freshman year when we won the 200 freestyle relay. We came from behind to win that and that was one of the most exciting moments I have ever been part of athletically for me. That was really cool.
GoDuke.com: What is your favorite memory away from competition?
HK: I would have to say it is going to training trip every year. It’s a nice bonding time. You get to live with people you don’t normally get to live with, you get to cook meals together and it’s a really good team bonding experience. After that, even though you get sick of each other, you really enjoyed the time that you spent there when you look back at it finally, but practice-wise it’s really rough.
GoDuke.com: What are your three favorite things about the sport of swimming?
HK: The fact that you get to train different strokes because I don’t have to do the same thing over and over again. That really helps to keep it fresh and to make training go by faster to make everything seem faster than it is. I enjoy the fact that it is an individual and a team sport. Relays are obviously a team sport because you can’t win without your team, but at the same time it’s easy to focus on yourself and to control what you can control about your own performance and it’s not like you feel like you let down the team. If you make a mistake it’s really on yourself. And here, it’s a lot better to train with the guys and the girls together as opposed to having separate gender teams. I think it adds a better dynamic to it and it’s something you don’t get in every sport.
GoDuke.com: Growing up, were there any swimmers that you admired or wanted to be like?
HK: Definitely Brendan Hansen. I met him at a clinic that we had back home and I actually got to race him in a 25 and it was really cool. I think that experience made me think I could swim in college, and to keep swimming to achieve a higher level than I was currently swimming at. That was kind of a turning point in my swimming career.
GoDuke.com: Describe head coach Dan Colella in three words.
HK: The first one would be process because that is what he preaches all the time and I know everyone on the team makes jokes about that, but it really does work and it is really something we have to believe in. If you buy into it all the way, you will achieve great things. My second would have to be compassionate. Even though Dan’s demeanor is kind of laid-back he very much cares about what he is doing and whenever he decides to get loud, it makes those moments more effective. I think that is part of him that you don’t always see in a lot of coaches but it’s something that really stands out. The third one I would say would be confident. He is very confident in our team and how well we can do as long as we do the things that we are supposed to. He is really good at telling us what we need to know in order to be confident in ourselves and ask why you’re going to meets and to know that we are going to do great things. That is something he is really good at, especially come ACCs.
GoDuke.com: What are three foods you can’t live without?
HK: Milk and yogurt are really big. I eat yogurt every day and I drink milk every day. Mashed potatoes – my mom makes the best homemade mashed potatoes in the world. It’s something I always ask for when I go home and I really enjoy eating a lot of. And finally I’m going to have to go with pineapple. It’s my favorite fruit and it just goes really well in any kind of smoothie or any combination you can make. It makes me really happy and I guess you can associate it with tropical and I really like going to the beach.