ATHLETE PROFILE: Anna Kochalko
As the swim teams completed their seasons over the past few weeks at the University Athletic Association meet and at nationals, senior co-captain Anna Kochalko has been quite successful in her career as a scholar athlete. Earning a school record in the 200-yard butterfly and multiple UAA honors during her four years at Carnegie Mellon, Kochalko talked to The Tartan about her views on the swim program and her experiences at the university.
The Tartan: The swim teams always have a strong showing at all of their competitions. Is there anything you hope the student body at Carnegie Mellon will recognize about the swimming and diving programs?
Kochalko: Swimming is the type of sport that never gets a lot of attention. We have a very strong team and love having fans come support us. The more students in the bleachers, the better.
T: What were your initial feelings of going to a school so far away from home? Have they changed now?
K: When deciding where to go to college, I really wanted to get away from home and try some place new. I’m really glad I decided to go far away from home, but now I’m ready to go back to California!
T: If you could recommend one class everyone should take or one professor everyone should have at some point, what or who would it be?
K: I would recommend that everyone take at least one class that is appealing to them. Flip through the course schedule and take the class that seems most interesting to you, even if it doesn’t fit into your major.
T: Does the team have any interesting rituals to motivate everyone before a meet?
K: After warm-up and before the start of every meet, the team meets in the locker room, then our coaches and captains talk for a few minutes to get everyone pumped up and excited. Once on deck, the whole team does a cheer to start off the first event.
T: What do you like the most about the events that you swim? What kind of training is involved?
K: The events I swim are typically longer and very challenging. They require swimming more yards at practice as well as 5:45 a.m. practices on Mondays and Fridays. I enjoy these events because they are very self-gratifying and I always feel a sense of accomplishment after completing them.
T: What has been your most memorable year at Carnegie Mellon in terms of campus life? How so?
K: My junior year has definitely been my most fun and memorable year at Carnegie Mellon. I had a great swim season, became president of my sorority [Kappa Alpha Theta], had an amazing experience participating in Greek Sing and Booth, and spent time hanging out with good friends before they graduated.
T: If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
K: Flying for sure, because I like birds.
T: What are your feelings as team captain in your last year of swimming at Carnegie Mellon? Where do you hope to see the team in the coming years?
K: It’s kind of a bittersweet feeling being captain and finishing my last year swimming. I’m so proud of what everyone did this year, but I’m sad it’s over for me. I know the team is only going to improve more and more each year and I’m excited to see everyone get faster and faster!