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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Spotlight: Ana Karin Kozjek

On Saturday, Nov. 23, Grinnell women’s swimming and diving defeated Loras College in a Midwest Conference dual meet. Ana Karin Kozjek ’17 tidied up with first place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle, 200 backstroke and the 400 medley relay. Her backstroke and medley times set a conference best to this point in the season and her freestyle time is ranked second. Her performance earned her the Midwest Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week award. Kozjek, from Ljubljana, Slovenia, is interested in nutrition and sports medicine and is planning on a biological chemistry major.

Ana - Parker Van Nostrand
Ana Karin Kozjek. Photograph by Parker Van Nostrand.


How long have you been swimming?

For 10 years—since I was eight. I tried many sports and had to choose between handball and swimming. … But I decided for swimming. Handball was really aggressive and I am more of an individual athlete.

What about swimming drew you in?

I really like that you are in a different element. You are there with your head underwater and you forget about everything. This is what I really like. It’s a kind of mental escape, you need it sometimes. Here [at Grinnell], it keeps me from going crazy, it preserves my sanity.

Which event is your favorite to swim in?

I used to be a freestyle sprinter, but now I am trying to do some more of the backstroke. I never did it before and am really enjoying it now. The 200, 100—it is so much fun to try something new.

What is your favorite part of the Grinnell Swim Team?

The meets … All the cheering, the atmosphere, how we support each other. I never had that back home, so it is a new thing that I really enjoy. Sometimes before a meet we have a movie night, just to be together, just to snuggle, whatever. We have some parties—that is how we really connect. The most team bonding is made through having fun together.

Do you have a favorite pre-meet ritual?

Sometimes I like to do some goofy stuff just to relax myself, with my body, of course. Right now I am really starting to like these goals [the swim team sets] for the meet. The women’s team gathers in our locker room and we go around, passing a duck, because we are the Ducks, and each tell our goal for the meet and we all clap. This really motivates us and sets our mental focus for the meet.

Do you have a favorite post-meet ritual?

The team eats; we eat a lot. We like to meet in the dining hall and eat. The team drinks a ridiculous amount of chocolate milk. Usually, we meet at Fairgrounds to hang out.

What are you looking forward to most this season?

We are going to Florida in January for 10 days to practice. There is a meet at the end of the ten days. Then we come back and we have our biggest conference meet in March. That is going to be fun. I will have some tan, as well, when I come back. That’s nice.

Do you have future plans for swimming?

No, I am mostly swimming for fun, to do [a] sport. I enjoy swimming, it helps with my academics. It is a good environment, it is fun.

What do you do for fun at home in Slovenia?

My favorite thing right now is exploring our Slovenian [natural] beauties. I never realized what we had. I realize even more, now that I am [here in Grinnell], what we have back home. I will continue to explore and play sports with my friends. I love to rock climb, and I like to cycle. I’ll cycle all over Slovenia and Eastern Europe.

What inspires you?

[My parents]. My mom is a triathlete. She is a part of why I like sports this much and why sports have become a part of my life. She does Ironmans and has done 23 so far. My father was an alpinist, which is where my climbing has come from and my obsession with nature. Sometimes I feel so restricted here—we are in the middle of Iowa, no mountains. And I actually had to buy a poster of mountains because I miss it so much.


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