Q&A: Julianna Massa (11)

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Julianna Massa (11) competes in breaststroke. She was named team captain at the beginning of the swim season.

Lauren Wisniewski

Q: For how long have you been swimming?

A: I’ve been swimming since third grade, but I only started swimming competitively and seriously in seventh or eighth grade.

Q: What inspired you to start swimming?

A: I started swimming because I love the water. Even though I hated for the first few years that I did it, I kept doing it and I grew to love it.

Q: What about the sport made you want to continue?

A: I think swimming is a unique sport because although it is a team sport, it is also very individualistic. You have to be independent because you are in charge of how well you do and you can’t depend on anyone else to do it for you. You have to be really self motivated to get up for practice in the morning and stick with. I’ve always really liked that about swimming.

Q: Who are your inspirations? What makes them special?

A: My brother really inspires me because he was never one of the best swimmers on the team, but he was really dedicated and he really wanted to do it. He persevered through a lot of setbacks and I’ve always wanted to be like him as in I always wanted to be able to do as well as he has done.

Q: What is your favorite event to swim? Why?

A: My favorite event[s] [are] the 100 [meter] back[stroke] and the 50 [meter] back[stroke] in the medley relay. It’s nice because you get to breathe the whole time [during backstroke]. The hard thing about swimming is that you can’t breathe most of the time.

Q: What do you like about swimming for Lake Central? Why?

A: I really like [swimming for] Lake Central. I like the community that we have on the team and I like the coaches. They’re really experienced so you can trust their advice. I like the people on the team; they’re a really diverse group because there are a lot of people that I would not have met if it wasn’t for swimming.

Q: How is LC swimming different from club swimming?

A: Club swimming is a lot more competitive, even with your team because in club your score is based on just yourself. How well you do isn’t based on other people. It’s all on you and you go to these huge meets and you’re all alone. There’s a lot less support from your friends. Then, on the [LC] team, you go to the meet and it’s your team against the other team. Your scores are all wrapped into one. Everyone is cheering for their friends and everyone’s really supportive. It’s a better atmosphere, so I’ve always liked team swimming better than club swimming.

Q: How often do you practice?

A: During the winter season, we practice every morning except for Wednesdays, so four mornings a week, and we have after school Monday through Saturday, so 10 practices a week. Morning practices start at 5 a.m. and we practice until 5 in the evening. We do dryland practices after school four days a week. During the offseason, around springtime, you don’t have to practice, but a lot of people do. That’s when you transition into the club swimming time. In between those seasons, I like to cross-train. I run and bike to try to stay in shape.

Q: What are your personal goals this season?

A: This season, I really want to drop time in the 100 [meter] back[stroke], because last season a gained a little bit [of time] from my freshman season, but I dropped time in the 200 [meter] free[style]. This season, I really want to focus more on backstroke.

Q: What has been your personal proudest moment thus far?

A:  It’s been really cool to be team captain this year. I was really proud to not just be a captain, but to know that my teammates see me as a leader and I can take charge of the team. I’ve been really proud of how all the freshmen have done this year because it’s really cool to see them do well and get good times. It’s really cool to see the team grow and change and get faster.

Q: What are your hopes for the team this swim sea

A: I think we really want to beat Crown Point in our dual meet. I think we have a chance of beating them this year even though in past years, we have always lost. At sectionals, we want to beat them again and go for second. We’ve gotten third for the past few years to Crown Point and Munster, and I think we can beat Crown Point at sectionals too if everybody works really hard.

Q: What advice do you have for other swimmers?

A: I think there’s a big temptation in swimming to give up because it is so time consuming,and if you don’t get really good times at sectionals and other bigger meets, there is a temptation to quit. You always have to persevere. It’s the little things, and even at meets when you get destroyed, if you drop time or you do well on your flip turn or start, if you improve, that’s the stuff you have to focus on. You can’t focus on the things you are not happy about.