Q&A With Beste Erener

Beste Erener is one of four fourth-year seniors on the 2008-09 San Jose State swimming and diving team. The native of Istanbul, Turkey, is a very versatile member of head coach Sage Hopkins’ squad, as she can swim the individual medley, butterfly, backstroke or breaststroke events on any given day. The 400 IM, in which she ranks sixth all-time at San Jose State and has earned second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors during each of her first three years, is her specialty.

Beste, an advertising major with a minor in business, is the latest guest for our occasional website mini-feature, Swimming & Diving Q&A.

1. Who are some of your favorite musical artists? Do you traditionally prefer Turkish music or the music here?
For Turkish music, I like the old songs, because I don’t really like pop music. I prefer English music more than Turkish. There are so many artists that I like. Some of them are Coldplay, Lenny Kravitz, Amy Winehouse, Moby, Bob Marley, Faithless, Jamiroquai, and so on.

2. Do you have any favorite movies or television shows?
My favorite movies are Across the Universe, Cruel Intentions and Ghost.

3. What are some of your favorite foods? Do you have a favorite restaurant in the area?
My favorite is absolutely Turkish food. I guess all the restaurants around San Jose are good, but I wish we had a Turkish restaurant downtown.

4. We know you went home to Istanbul during the holiday season. How was that? What did you do?
It was great. I hung out with my family and my friends. The next day after I arrived, I swam in the Turkey Nationals meet. It was for four days and it was pretty tough for me since I was tired from the long trip and jetlag, but I think I did okay.

After the meet, I kept practicing to stay in shape, and hung out with my friends. Oh, and I guess I ate too much because my mother and my friends’ mothers kept feeding me amazing food.

5. Tell us more about how you felt you performed at that Turkey Nationals meet. What events did you swim, and what were your placements?
My races were 200 IM (in long-course meters), 400 IM, 100 breast and 200 breast. I was planning to swim the 200 fly instead of the breaststroke events, but my team did not have any breaststrokers, so I had to go for it.

I was first-place in the 400 IM, second-place in the 200 IM, third-place in the 100 breast and fourth-place in the 200 breast. I thought I performed alright in the individual medley races, but I could have been better in the breaststroke ones.

6. What is your favorite place you have visited? Is there a place in particular you would like to go some day?
My favorite places that I have visited are Paris and Barcelona. My dream is going to Bora Bora.

7. You are the only member of the Spartan team that has had the honor of representing their country, swimming for the Turkish national team earlier in your career. Talk about what it meant to you to be able to do that.
I was 13 years old the first time that I qualified for the Turkish national team. I was too young to realize how important it was to be on the national team. Later, seeing people trying to qualify and not managing it, I felt super special, and it really kept me up. I worked so hard, and made sure I was on the team every year. I traveled to so many places around the world with the national team, and had amazing experiences. Not many people got the same chance. I believe I represented my country very well in every single meet by placing in the top three in my races, so that was the best feeling that I could have.

8. Having competed for one of the largest clubs in Turkey (Galatasaray SK Istanbul), for the Turkish national team, and collegiately here for San Jose State, what has been the most memorable moment of your career?
The most memorable moment of my career at San Jose State was in my freshman year. I arrived in San Jose a month before our conference championship meet. I came late because of paperwork and some other stuff. We were in Texas for the conference meet. I was the only one on the team who was going to swim the 400 IM. (It is a tough race. Even though you’ve swam it a million times in your career, you still get nervous before every single 400 IM.) I was very nervous, because I was new to the team and I was the only one (in the race). I wanted to do so well.

So the best moment was when I saw all of my teammates on the other side of the pool, right on my lane, to cheer for me. It was AMAZING. I was not alone anymore when I saw all of them cheering for me. It was actually very surprising for me to see them on my lane, because you are not allowed to be by the lanes to cheer in Turkey. So that was awesome.

9. San Jose State is 12-1 and on an incredible 12-meet win streak. The Spartans next travel to Hayward, Calif., to face Cal State East Bay on Friday, January 16. As a veteran on this squad, talk about the team’s success so far this season.
I couldn’t be any more proud of this team. This team has become so great, with very good performances in the pool, as well as real friendships with each other, and also really supportive at any time. We have worked very hard this year, and I believe we deserve to be in this position more than any other team in our conference. I am very excited for WAC to see everyone’s performances. I know we will do real well.

10. How do you hope to finish off your San Jose State career in February?
I can’t wait to see us as CHAMPIONS of the WAC!

2008-09 Swimming & Diving Q&A Guests
October 1 - Ashley Ladd, Sophomore
October 8 - Kirsten Trammell, Sophomore
October 30 - Rudie Guerrero, Sophomore
November 5 - Tomi Petty, Freshman
November 27 - Julie Wynn, Sophomore
December 5 - Daphne Yeung, Sophomore

December 13 - Hannah Tringham, Junior

January 7 - Tarolyn Robertson, Senior

January 8 - Megan Mills, Freshman

January 13 - Beste Erener, Senior