Last week’s University Athletic Association (UAA) Swimming Athlete of the Week Oliver Smith (18C) qualified for the NCAA Men’s Division III Swimming and Diving Championships after he touched first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.33 seconds in a dual meet against the University of Georgia Feb. 3. The senior is a biology major from Milan, Mich. The team competes next at the UAA Championships, starting Feb. 14.
Annie Uichanco, The Emory Wheel: What’s your go-to warm-up song?
Oliver Smith: I like a lot of Eminem. I don’t have one [favorite song] in particular.
EW: What’s your perfect pre-game meal?
OS: Chicken parm. … I love chicken parm.
EW: What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to you in the pool?
OS: One time — this is why I always wear two caps — one time, I dove in for a race. I was at an age group meet or whatnot, and my goggles fell off. They had slid off my head and sunk to the bottom of the pool. After my race, I had to go back to the middle of the pool — and everyone was waiting — and dive to the bottom and try to find them.
EW: Favorite sports film?
OS: What I’m thinking right now is “42” about Jackie Robinson. That was a good one, but there are so many of them. I really love all sports films.
EW: Who’s an athlete that you look up to?
OS: I look up to my brother a lot. He was an athlete, he swam in college and now he’s in [medical] school, so he’s kind of my role model.
EW: Do you have a motto that you live by?
OS: My family, growing up, we had this motto. It was meant as a joke whenever me and my brother got in a fight, but I kind of took it to heart. It’s called, “Life’s a competition. Don’t lose.” So when I’m swimming, I kind of use that.
EW: What’s one thought you have before jumping into the pool?
OS: “This is gonna hurt.” In respect to holding my breath, especially.
EW: What is one major aspiration for you in life?
OS: Right now, I’m at a place where I’m kind of deciding what I want to do next, so I plan on swimming next year. If I can get fast enough this summer, then I’ll continue swimming to see if I can aim for Olympic Trials in 2020.
EW: Confession time. Do you pee in the pool?
OS: Oh yeah, absolutely. Every swimmer does, and if they tell you no, they’re lying.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.