20 Questions With Amanda Carr

San Jose State University swimmer Amanda Carr is a native of Riverside, Calif., and graduate of Riverside Poly High School. The distance freestyle specialist, one of just five seniors and three fourth-year members of the team this season, currently ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference in the 1000 and 1650 free, second in the 500 free and fifth in the 200 free.

Carr, a history major, is able to complete her undergraduate degree at the conclusion of the current fall semester, with an expected graduation date of next May. The three-time Academic All-WAC honoree and three-time San Jose State University Scholar-Athlete ranks fourth all-time in school history in the 1000 free (10:23.43) and 1650 free (17:13.47), and fifth in the 500 free (5:03.70). As the Spartans take a three-week break from competition before their final meet of the 2007 calendar year at Pacific on Saturday, December 8, she took time out to answer 20 Questions for SJSUSpartans.com.

1. What is one word that can be used to describe yourself?
Clumsy. I run into things a lot, and I’m kind of known for being kind of clumsy. I mean, I broke my arm just running on the pool deck (last year), so that’s a pretty good example.

2. Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions?
Yeah, I have to have completely dry hands. I don’t know why. I don’t like to be really wet when I’m about to swim. I also check to see that my goggles are on tight and that my cap is on tight about a hundred times, probably.

3. What are some of your favorite movies or television shows? Any favorite actors?
My favorite movie right now is Elf, just because it’s the holiday season, and I love the holidays. My favorite television show is, right now, The Hills, but it changes. For actors, I’ve always liked Leonardo DiCaprio.

4. Are there any pro teams that you root for?
I like the San Jose Sharks and going to their games. My favorite Sharks player is probably Jonathan Cheechoo.

5. What is your favorite food?
I really love to cook, so I just love any food, in general. My dad used to be a chef, and my mom really likes cooking. She taught me how to cook. So like for Thanksgiving, it’s kind of a family effort. We all help.

6. What is your favorite San Jose State team other than your own?
I really like the football team and I like going to football games.

7. What is your favorite class at San Jose State?
I really enjoyed California history, just because it was about areas that I grew up in, and that I live in right now, so I just found it really interesting.

8. What is your favorite thing about your sport?
It keeps you in really good shape, and I always feel very refreshed after a swim workout.

9. What sets a distance swimmer apart from a sprinter?
You can’t have a short attention span. You have to really be able to focus on what you’re doing, for a long time, and get past how painful it is.

10. How did you get to be a distance swimmer in the first place?
I grew up swimming, but when I was little, I wasn’t good at any one stroke in particular. I couldn’t really do any of the four strokes that well. I could kind of do freestyle, but not really super-fast, but I could swim a lot longer than all the other kids, so my coaches decided that I would be a good distance swimmer, and that was that. I’ve been a distance swimmer since I was really little.

11. Take us through a training session as a distance swimmer. What amount do you swim on average during any given practice?
Usually, I warm up with the (rest of the) team, so we do kick-sets and warm-up fast sets with the team. But then usually the other distance swimmers and I will do a set that’s around 3000 yards. We just do longer sets where you’re swimming faster for longer. It’s not necessarily that we do a lot more yardage than all the other groups.

12. What kind of strategy goes into a long-distance race?
Every distance swimmer has their own motto on how you should swim the races. I’ve always gone out really, really fast, and then just tried to maintain that pace. I’ve never been able to really come back really fast or pace myself evenly the whole time. At the WAC Championship when I’m swimming the mile (1650 free), I’ll go out in my best 1000 time and I’ll be right at my best 500 time.

13. Who is the most impressive person that you know?
My sister is the most impressive person that I know. She’s just really driven. She’s in veterinary school right now at UC Davis, and it’s the best vet school in the whole nation. She’s doing really well there. She’s just really smart and I’ve always looked up to her. She’s very dedicated to her education, and I really wish I had that discipline with my education.

14. What are some of the things you like to do when you are away from swimming?
I like to go shopping and go out to dinner with my friends and relax. Even when I’m not swimming, I’m usually hanging out with the swimmers.

15. What has been the favorite place you have visited out of town, and what would be your dream vacation spot?
I spent about a month in Europe one summer during high school, so pretty much everywhere I went over there was amazing. That was Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain. I’ve always really wanted to go to Switzerland.

16. What has been your most memorable moment in your sport?
My most memorable moment was when I went a 17:13 in the mile at the WAC Championship in 2006 (to finish fifth and earn second-team All-WAC honors). I dropped about 20 seconds off my best time. That was a really great swim for me. Also, my sophomore year in high school in 2002, our swim team won the CIF championship, and we did the whole thing where you push your coach into the water. It was just really cool because it was the whole CIF, and it was a pretty memorable moment.

17. Do you have any plans for after graduation?
No. I have no idea. I’m thinking about going into teaching, but I’m not really sure. I’ll look for a job. I’d like to stay around here, but I’m in the mindset of I’ll go wherever.

18. What are some of your individual goals and expectations from the rest of this season and the 2008 WAC Championship in particular?
I’ve always wanted to break five minutes in the 500 (current best is 5:03.70). I’ve been swimming the 500 since I was 10 years old, and I really want to swim under five minutes in that. I’ve been really close to it for years and years. I would love to finish my career by breaking the five-minute mark.

19. What are some of your team goals and expectations from the rest of this season and the 2008 WAC Championship in particular?
Just for the team to do really well at WAC, beat Idaho and New Mexico State and try to finish in the top three this year. We were fourth last year. It would be awesome if we could move one more spot up.

20. Being one of five seniors on the team this season, how have you felt in your leadership role with 16 freshmen on the squad?
It’s been a lot of fun. The freshmen are so great this year. They are so fun to spend time with. I feel like the three of us seniors that have been here for all four years, have seen just about everything that can happen on a team, so we are really able to help them out and steer them in the right direction. I’ve had so much fun with it. I’ve been in charge of team dinners, and have had a great time so far this year.

This week’s 20 Questions was brought to you by The Grill On The Alley.

Past 2007-08 20 Questions

August 22 - Colleen Burke, Women's Volleyball
September 12 - Nick Cukar, Men's Soccer
September 26 - Amber Silverstone, Women's Tennis
October 17 - Jillene Golez, Women's Swimming
October 24 - Kelly Crow, Volleyball
October 31 - Heather Oranje, Women's Soccer
November 14 - Richard Mann, Men's Soccer
November 21 - Amanda Carr, Women's Swimming