Q&A with Evan Hsiao


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Evan Hsiao
Evan Hsiao
Courtesy: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios

The NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships begin Wednesday in Columbia, MO and UCSD Coach Scott McGihon will be traveling with a team of 20 qualifiers. One of the most prominent will be senior Evan Hsiao. The 6-foot Irvine High School product will be making his fourth and final trip to the national meet. As a junior, in Buffalo, NY, he won the 100 breaststroke, clocking 55.51, the second fastest time in school history. He’s also recorded the third quickest 200 breaststroke (2:04.36) in Triton annals. An economics major with a psychology minor, Hsiao took time before the team departed for Missouri to talk about the NCAA meet, his sport and his specialty.


Q—Given your individual championship a year ago, do you feel any pressure to repeat?


HSIAO— I do feel the pressure to repeat. It's a good thing and a bad thing at the same time, because I have the confidence of a defending national champion, but at the same time I feel like I am heading into the meet with a big target on my back.


Q—Do you feel the 100 breaststroke will be your best event at this year’s NCAA’s? Why?


HSIAO—Yes, I've been training specifically for this event the entire year. It's been my focus since September.


Q—When you hit the wall last year, did you know you’d won the race?


HSIAO— Ha ha. I actually had no idea that I had won. My vision is pretty bad (hence the glasses that I wear), so once I touched, I looked up to the scoreboard, but I was thinking to myself, "why am I looking up at the clock? I can barely make out the guy's face in the lane next to me." So I pulled myself out of the pool as soon as I could and figured I would go ask one of my coaches how the race went.


Q—What were your feelings immediately after you’d finished first?


HSIAO—The first thought I'd had was "I wonder if I won, I hope I won,” but my feelings after finding out that I had won were bittersweet. I was glad that I had won, but I was disappointed with my time. I had wanted to get the national record in the event. I guess you could say I was content with the race—not too excited, not too disappointed.


Q—Besides yourself, who on the UCSD team do you feel has the best chance to win an individual national title at the NCAA’s?


HSIAO—Daniel Perdew is going to win two national titles. That’s not the chance of him winning, but a guarantee of him winning the 50 and 100 freestyle events. It's only a matter of how fast he's going to go to win those events.


Kendall Bohn is probably going to win the 200 breaststroke, and could possibly win the 100 breaststroke.


Q—What relay teams do you expect to swim on at the nationals?


HSIAO— I plan on swimming on the 200 free relay (each swimmer swims 50 yards of freestyle), the 200 medley relay (each swimmer swims 50 yards, with each swimmer swimming one of the four strokes of swimming) and the 400 medley relay (the 200 medley relay, but longer).


Q—For you, what are the best and worst aspects of swimming relays?


HSIAO—The best aspect of swimming relays is that I can figure out how the other breaststrokers swim and it gives me a preview of who I should be keeping a lookout for. 


The worst aspect of relays is that a bad swim on a relay by any of the legs doesn't just mean a loss for one individual, but for the entire relay.  Relays are a mixed bag, because it's great to get up emotionally for a relay and just completely destroy another team alongside your teammates in such a team-oriented setting, but at the same time, losing a relay feels four times as bad as losing an individual race.


Q—What are the keys to being a good breaststroker?


HSIAO—Technique is key. This pertains to the ability of an individual to most efficiently propel himself or herself through the water with their arms.


Strong legs are also important because breaststroke hinges around the strength and flexibility of an individual’s core and legs.


Q—Has the breaststroke always been your specialty? If so, when and how did you determine that? If not, what other events did you swim?


HSIAO—The breaststroke has always been my specialty. My physical build just wasn't conducive to the other strokes.  I figured this out at a pretty young age, when my coach had told me that I was “built for breaststroke.”


Q—Swimmers are typically a pretty narrowly-focused group. If you could, what sport would you want to good at? Why?


HSIAO—Rugby is a sport I would want to be good at. Those guys do not get any credit at all. Think of all the running of soccer plus the brute force of ultimate fighting plus the intensity of football, minus the pads with 4x more intensity—that equals rugby.  The sport looks pretty fun too.


Q—Outside of swimming where do you derive the most satisfaction?


HSIAO—There isn't one place where I derive the most satisfaction. I get a lot of satisfaction from school, learning different sociological theories and ideas. I also find a lot of satisfaction in surfing, going to the gym, skateboarding, whatever I can do to really challenge myself.


Q—You grew up with your parents and one sister in Mission Viejo. What is the dominant characteristic of your family?


HSIAO—My parents and my sister have always taught me to hold myself accountable for all of my actions, because at the end of the day, you only have yourself to answer to. 


I also learned the importance of treating others well, despite how they may treat you.  This idea is extremely important to me, as it ties well into the whole aspect of team, and treating every team member with respect and such, and treating other competitors with the same respect and decency that you would want.


Q—What would you change about yourself, if you could?


HSIAO—I wish I were more calculative. I need to think more before I act.


Q—What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?


HSIAO—Social work. Preferably outside of the United States.


Previous Q&A Articles

Eric Rubens (Men's Tennis) February 27, 2008

Melissa Ward (Softball) February 20, 2008

Cameron Sprowles (Fencing) February 13, 2008

Kim Hockett (Women's Water Polo) February 6, 2008

Trevor Decker (Baseball) January 31, 2008

Jordan Lawley (Men's Basketball) January 23, 2008

Jason Spangler (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2008

Andrew Skewes (Men's Diving) December 26, 2007

Alexis Gaskin (Women's Basketball) December 17, 2007

Aubrey Panis (Women's Swimming) December 2, 2007

Andrew Hatch (Men's Basketball) November 26, 2007

Kevin Klein (Men's Cross Country) November 12, 2007

Kim Adams (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2007

Ben Miller (Men's Water Polo) October 31, 2007

Alie Avina (Women's Soccer) October 19, 2007

Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball Head Coach) October 15, 2007

Jason Le (Men's Soccer ) October 3, 2007

Rebecca Bailey (Women's Volleyball) September 18, 2007

Amanda Burkhardt (Women's Cross Country) September 10, 2007

Curtis Williamson (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2007

Ali Lai (Women's Soccer) August 25, 2007

Nate Garcia (Head Coach of Cross Country) August 13, 2007

Tony Choi (Men's Soccer) July 25, 2007

Natalie Facchini (Women's Volleyball) July 9, 2007

Chris Carlson (Head Coach of Men's Basketball) June 22, 2007