Cavalier Corner

June 2012

Cavalier Corner is the publication just for UVa sports fans!

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 24 of 31

"That should say something to future athletes who look at UVa swimming," Ber- nardino said. "I know it means a lot in terms of personal pride on the team. Nobody wants to be in a group that slips or lets this program fall. "When people come in here, they know they are carrying on a tradition. They have stewardship of something very special, and they have to take ownership and take pride in what we do and how we do it. They swim not just for themselves, but swim for their teammates and for the athletes that came before them and laid the foundation for our program." Athletes themselves say that the opportu- nity to work in the pool with Bernardino and experience life as an athlete and student at Virginia is often too much to pass up. "I sort of had my eye on UVa from the start," said redshirt first-year Megan Fox, who won two ACC championships in February. Fox transferred to UVa from Arizona State and said it was one of the best deci- sions she could have made. "I wanted to come here but I chose to go to Arizona State, which was the best finan- cial option for my family at the time," she said. "I liked ASU, but I knew my heart was here. Right when I got there I knew I wasn't supposed to be there. I wanted to swim for Mark and I think everything fell into place and it was supposed to be. I am a better person because I went through that. The first time I was on the Lawn, it just felt right. The classes are really challenging here. Swim- ming has always been what I was good at, but being at UVa allows you to be good at both academics and athletics." Second-year men's swimmer Jan Daniec, a native of Poland who came to the United States by way of California, had a similar experience in choosing to swim for Ber- nardino and Virginia. "I took recruiting trips to Cal and USC," Daniec said. "I wanted to stay in California. But [former Virginia swimmer] Fran Crip- pen was on my club team, and he really encouraged me to check out UVa. I came on a trip and I just fell in love with the team and the coaches." After yet another successful season in ACC Coach of the Year a mind-boggling 31 times. That kind of consistent excellence can be nearly impossible to maintain, but Ber- nardino uses it as a challenge to athletes he recruits, and it proves to be a selling point to the kind of competitors who thrive at Virginia. the ACC and at the NCAA Championships, Bernardino and many of the Cavaliers, both past and present, have turned their attention toward the summer and the Olympic Trials, scheduled to be held June 25 through July 2 in Omaha, Neb. Bernardino is working with more than 30 athletes preparing for a shot at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. "We have a huge group training for the Olympic Trials," Bernardino said. "Proba- bly two-thirds of our active team has Olym- pic Trial cut [times]. Exams are going to change our consistency of our training as we lead into the trials, but I don't think we are much different than most universities in that regard. "We have a large group and we have some athletes we think have excellent op- portunities to get through the preliminary rounds and into the semifinals and hopefully the final rounds." Among the current Virginia women, Ellen Williamson, Meredith Cavalier, Christine Olsen, Allison Haulsee, Sarah White and Naurath are swimmers Bernardino thinks could move past the preliminaries. Among current Cavalier men Parker Camp, Brady Fox and Taylor Grey and new American citizen Daniec have the best opportunities to advance. Olsen made the 200-meter breaststroke semifinals in 2008. "Once any athlete gets into the semis, it is anybody's game to get into the final eight," Bernardino said. "We'll take things one step at a time and see what happens. When you talk about making the Olympic team though, our best opportunities are with our post-graduate swimming athletes. "Scott Robinson and Matt McLean both have opportunities to do something very special at this meet. Matt will go in as one of the favorites in the 400 free and he'll go in as one of the favorites to make the 800 free relay. Scott will go in as one of the bubble guys to make the 400 and 800 free relays. "You are looking at very stiff and very ex- perienced competition in those two relays, but both Scott and Matt have international experience under their belts. They've both won medals in international events. They've both been finalists in international champi- onship meets. They were both high finishers at the NCAA Championships over the past couple of years. They are legit prospects to make the Olympic team." In addition, former Cavaliers David Karasek and Katya Bachrouche will com- pete at the London Games — Bachrouche for her native Lebanon and Karasek for Switzerland. It's something that means a lot to Ber- nardino personally, but also to the program as a whole as UVa looks to a continued bright future. "There will be a Virginia presence at the 2012 Olympic Games," he said. "You would hope recruits follow the history and follow the tradition and see what your athletes are doing and want to be part of something as exciting as what we've put together when it comes to international success in the sport of swimming." ◆ JUNE 2012 ◆ 25

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cavalier Corner - June 2012