Q&A with NCAA National Champion Dan Perdew
UC San Diego sophomore Dan Perdew was named Male Swimmer of the Meet at last week’s NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships in Columbia, MO after winning both the 50 (20.07) and 100 (44.23) freestyle events in school record time. He was also part of three top five relay teams, including the 200 freestyle quartet that set another UCSD record with a time of 1:21.54. “Winning the two freestyle sprints is extremely difficult,” said UCSD Head Coach Scott McGihon. “On paper it looks easy but they’re two completely different events. Dan’s performance at the NCAA Championships was one of the best I’ve seen in my time at UCSD.” The 6-2 graduate of
Q—What was the best part of the NCAA Championships?
PERDEW—The best part was how successful we were as a team. Every person who went got a best time in at least one event. Personal success is one thing, but being able to share that enjoyment with your teammates is what sports is about.
Q—Which of your two individual wins was more gratifying? Why?
PERDEW—I would have to say the 50 freestyle. If you make one mistake you lose. In the hundred I felt there could have been some improvements. In the 50, if I had made even a little mistake I would have lost, especially since the margin of victory was so small.
Q—When you and Coach Scott McGihon talked before the season and plotted your training, was winning two NCAA titles part of the conversation?
PERDEW—Yes it was. We talked last spring and set goals for the upcoming season. Winning the 50 and 100 free were a part of those goals, along with other team-oriented goals.
Q—Now that you’ve won two NCAA titles, how do you stay motivated?
PERDEW—It’s easy actually. A team national title. That motivates me every day. If it were just about me, I probably wouldn’t have won any events. Winning a team national title would be the greatest accomplishment we could achieve—until that happens motivation really isn’t a problem.
Q—Have you given any thought to your individual swimming goals going forward?
PERDEW—Over spring quarter I hope to get my Olympic Trials cuts in the 50 and 100 free, which will be held over the summer. As for next season, I’ll see if I can add another event at NCAAs to hopefully score more points for the team.
Q—What is the single most important aspect in terms of success in the 50 freestyle? The 100 freestyle?
PERDEW—In the 50 it’s really the ability to just let go physically and keep an intense mental focus. In the 100 it’s taking that pure speed and adapting it to a race strategy that will last over the course of 100 yards.
Q—Is it beneficial having another fast sprinter like Todd Langland on the team? Why?
PERDEW—It is extremely beneficial. I can’t imagine what my season would have been like if Todd wasn’t there. I owe a large part of my success to him. Having him there pushing me every day in practice is amazing. We’re both competitors and racing each other every day has been a huge benefit to both of us.
Q—Outside of yourself, what did you think was UCSD’s best performance at the NCAA meet? The most surprising?
PERDEW—I can’t say there was one best performance, even including myself. There were so many great swims, it is hard to choose one. It was really a once in a lifetime thing. There were some surprising swims, especially in the women’s 200 free. Aubrey (Panis) breaking the school record by a second and two other girls within tenths is truly amazing.
Q—What was your favorite non-competitive moment/activity in
PERDEW—I would have to say the senior tribute on the last night. It really makes you appreciate the time you have left and the people you get to spend it with.
Q—Is it difficult re-adjusting to the “real world” and finals after a trip like this?
PERDEW—It definitely is, especially after such a great meet. It felt like we were on a constant high all week long. It’s hard returning to school after being a part of something that special.
Q—What event would you never want to have to swim competitively? Why?
PERDEW—400 IM. By far the most grueling race there is. I’ve done it once long course and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Training for that event wouldn’t be much fun either.
Q—What’s the one thing that you’ll be able to do now that the season’s over that you couldn’t do leading up to the NCAA Championships?
PERDEW—Sleep. I think I’m going to sleep straight through spring break.
Previous Q&A ArticlesEric Rubens (Men's Tennis) February 27, 2008