Cavalier Corner

December 2016

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cavalier profile LAURA SIMON Fourth-Year Swimming & Diving When fourth-year Laura Simon graduated high school in her native Germany, her options were limited because German colleges lack sports. "After high school, you have options," said Simon, a preseason All-American in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. "You can go to college and take classes. Another option was to stay in Germany and go into the police or army, which wasn't an option for me. Another option was to go pro. But I didn't feel confident to confine my entire life to swimming. I wanted the academics as a balance in my life. "While I was in high school, I went to three swim meets in the U.S. That convinced me that was something I wanted to try because in Germany swimming is individual." The "option" Simon decided on was to enroll at Virginia. Simon has been a 10-time All-American and an 18-time All-ACC selection in the breaststroke, the 200 medley relay and the 400 medley relay. "People in practice push me to do my best and the coaches support me in the pool and also academically [she has been an All-ACC Academic Team selection]," Si- mon said regarding a reason for her success. Another is her work with UVA head coach Augie Busch and his staff. "I think my technique has improved a lot, especially in my turns and pullouts," Simon said. "We also do a lot more racing than I did at home. That helped me a lot getting ready for meets." Simon also has benefitted from swimming in interna- tional competitions like the 2011 Junior World Champion- ships in Peru and the 2010 Junior European Champion- ships in Finland. "I think coming to the realization that you have to give everything in every race matters," Simon said. "If you swim against elite swimmers you have a harder time. "I think swimming against them helped me to race as hard as I can at bigger meets." Even though Simon has set the bar high, pressure isn't in her vocabulary. "I don't think there is pressure because there are other women who do the breaststroke who could fill in for me," she said. — Mike Scandura ◆ Photo courtesy UVA

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