The Daily Pennsylvanian asked senior Anderson Myers of Penn women's swimming 15 questions about her sport, her time at Penn, and her life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Anderson Myers, but most people call me Andie. I’m from Orlando, Fla. I’m majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in energy and sustainability.
2. When did you start swimming?
I started swimming I think in sixth grade. Obviously, I learned to swim and I was very young growing up in Florida. And I really enjoyed the swim lessons I had and liked the time I got to do that. And then I think, by the time I went to sixth grade, my parents were comfortable letting me take it more seriously and so I’d say that's when I started swimming for real.
3. Why did you start swimming?
I think I just really enjoyed it and for a long time, my parents didn't want me to be overwhelmed by it. And then I just had the opportunity to join, like, the varsity swim team at my school in sixth grade and so that was a huge opportunity for me, and that's really when I started to like take off and become really competitive.
4. Who’s your biggest inspiration in the pool?
I would say, probably, just like any of my teammates that I’ve had over the years. Anyone I train with, anyone that's just a little bit better than me, more so than some kind of famous swimmer. I think they pushed me every day and they make me strive to be the best I can be.
5. Who’s your biggest inspiration outside the pool?
Outside the pool, I think it definitely sounds cheesy but I look up to my mom a lot. She's a working woman and my dad stays at home, and I think that really has influenced my life from a very young age, and I think that it has made me really independent, headstrong, and you know, want to pursue all these things that I can.
6. How has COVID-19 impacted your routine?
So obviously, I haven't really swum much over the past year because of COVID-19. I think one of the biggest changes I have had to make is finding new exercises to do in the meantime and then obviously I was supposed to be swimming since this year was my last season. But as of Thursday, it was announced that graduate school or graduate students will be able to compete in a limited capacity, so I actually do have to make a comeback soon and kind of come out of retirement and swim again, which is exciting.
7. Describe a day in your life pre-COVID-19.
Definitely tough, I would say. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we have double practices. So I wake up at probably like 5:50 in the morning, go swimming practice, go to weights, go to class, go to some practice again, study, eat, go to bed. Definitely jam-packed, definitely exhausting but really rewarding too.
8. Did you ever want to quit?
I think, you know, everyone kind of reaches a point where they think to themselves, "life would be a lot easier if I just quit," or that, "I put myself through a lot to do this." I don't think that desire has ever been super strong for me. I think that my desire to swim and get better has always kind of outweighed those negative thoughts in my head, so even though you know you get that nudge every now and then, I think, for me, it's never been too strong. I always have wanted to swim and have always wanted to try my best.
9. What's your favorite and least favorite type of event?
I swim mostly butterfly. I like to swim sprint freestyle too, but my coach usually makes me train all butterfly. My least favorite is definitely backstroke. I just hate being on my back and so I will avoid it at all costs.
10. What is your funniest/happiest swimming memory?
I think one of my happiest memories was when we had a meet last year in Ohio that most of the team went to, and it was a new meet for us. None of us had ever been to that pool before, so it was exciting to kind of get to experience a new place and everything. But then there was a girl who had a disease called cryptosporidium which can get in the pool and infect other people, and so then the whole meet just kind of became a mess after that. I think, despite all those things, we had a lot of fun at that meet with all the crazy things that went on. It was a really good time and it was a really good meet too and I think a lot of people swam really fast.
11. What is your workout routine?
My routine now is usually I will wake up and do some sort of exercise in the morning, whether that's like running or a HIIT workout. We have been getting back in the pool recently this month, so it's starting to become more swimming than some of the workouts I’ve been doing over the past few months. And obviously, I eat breakfast, I go to my classes, I study, I hang out with my housemates and things like that. But I would say overall I’ve had more free time over the past few months without swimming. And I was able to do more things kind of exploring Philadelphia, and just more leisurely things I haven't really appreciated over the past few years.
12. What has your experience on the Penn swim team been like?
I think it's been great. I’ve been surrounded by a great group of athletes and I think we've also had a great coaching staff over the past few years. Definitely one of the big things coming to Penn for me was Mike Schnur as a coach. He's very talented as a coach and he's also a great person to kind of be mentored by. Then just every girl I’ve met on the team, there are so many different people and everyone brings their own strengths. I think that dynamic in that environment has been something that was a real game-changer for me coming into college to just have friends built-in.
13. What is your advice for aspiring swimmers?
It's important to check in with yourself, make sure you're still happy, and make sure you're still loving it. At Penn, we don't have athletic scholarships, we don't have any pressures to stay on the team, but it's really about your own happiness and what's important to you and I think, for me, swimming has always been something that's made me happy. It's something that I can use to kind of reset any struggle I'm going through. So, if something doesn't make you happy, don't do it. But if something makes you happy, then you got to put in the work and it's going to be worth it.
14. What is your pre-meet hype song?
I listened to a lot of things. Female rap artists like Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, I think would be big in the pump-up area. Also artists like Britney Spears; anything that just kind of makes me happy and energized before a race.
15. What are your future plans post-graduation?
I will be submatriculating into the Graduate School of Engineering next year and I will be getting my master's degree in May 2022. Since graduate students are now going to be eligible in the Ivy League to compete, I will be competing next year. That'll be really exciting to get to finish my swim career in a way that isn't just suddenly cut off one day. It's nice to get to go back to that and that's basically it after that, who knows. As for a full-time job, well, we'll think about that later.