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Athlete of the Week: Borgolini ’14 shines in breaststroke, sets new record

Briana Borgolini ’14 broke her own school record from 2011 in the 200-yard breaststroke and recorded the highest individual finish for the Bears last weekend at the Women’s Swimming and Diving Ivy League Championships — finishing second with an NCAA “B” cut time of 2:13.97.

Borgolini also swam the breaststroke leg on the 400 medley relay, which shattered the school record set last year. The breaststroke is Borgolini’s forte — she holds the school record in the 100 breaststroke as well and competed in the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. this past summer after achieving qualifying standards in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. For her impressive performances, Borgolini has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: You competed in the Olympic Trials. What was that experience like?

Borgolini: It was really fun but definitely overwhelming. It was nerve-wracking and I really missed my teammates, so I felt a lot more pressure and it wasn’t quite as fun. I think it was a good learning experience because I had to figure out how to control nerves.

Did your performances this season meet your expectations?

Yes, I think they did. It’s just nice to get a best time. The team has gotten a lot better and there were lots of big improvements for the team, which was really exciting.

Is the season over now? If so, do you have any goals for your senior year?

Our season is over. You do not necessarily get to go to nationals if you get the “B” time since they only take a certain number. But I guess for my senior year it would be awesome to bring my times down even more, and I think as a team we can continue to improve a lot, which will be fun.

When did you start swimming?

I started swimming when I was seven — just for a summer team. Then I joined a year-round team and then it just kind of happened. I got more into it in sixth and seventh grade and that’s when I started competitively swimming all year round.

What stroke is your favorite and why?

Breaststroke is my favorite. Honestly, I can’t do the other three that well.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

I usually paint my nails. … I always do that.

What is it like for you balancing a Division I sport and academics?

I like the structure because I feel like if I only have a certain amount of time to do something, then I have to get it done in that amount of time. I think most athletes feel the same way. … The structure is good.

What are you concentrating in and why?

I am concentrating in human biology because I like public health and I like infectious disease. I am really interested in health disparities in the developing world. … I don’t know exactly what I want to do with it yet, but I know I am interested.

What is it like for the team now that there is the new pool?

I think it made the team a lot more excited. The (Aquatics Bubble) worked, it was functional, but now we have this beautiful new facility and I think it helped everyone be more excited about practices and motivated to put more time in this great pool versus the old bubble. It has helped garner better morale and the motivation to get better.

What is a typical practice like?

We have certain days where we do certain things. Mondays are really aerobic, for example, where we do a lot of yardage. Whereas a Saturday would be more of what we call a “quality set,” where we do lots of repetitions of our races or something. It’s kind of almost like a practice meet sometimes.

Are you one of the “early-bird” teams when it comes to practice?

We have 6:30 a.m. (practices). I think our bodies adjust to it. It’s hard at the beginning of the year and then it just becomes normal.