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Spotlight: Nick Roberson

Nick Roberson ’18 played an integral role in helping the men’s swimming and diving team earn a Conference title. Photo by Hung Vuong
Nick Roberson ’18 played an integral role in helping the men’s swimming and diving team earn a Conference title.  Photo by Hung Vuong
Nick Roberson ’18 played an integral role in helping the men’s swimming and diving team earn a Conference title.
Photo by Hung Vuong

After placing second at Conference the past two seasons, the men’s swimming and diving team came out last weekend and toppled Lake Forest College to become Midwest Conference Champions. Prior to Conference, the S&B’s Editor-in-Chief Kelly Pyzik sat down with swimmer Nick Roberson ’18 to get an inside scoop on a championship team.

How is the season going?

It’s good. We’re definitely looking stronger than last year. We lost a few really good seniors, but our recruiting class this year has a lot of really good freshmen in it that makes up for what we normally lack—we have a bunch of really good breaststrokers now, we have one who’s super good at just about everything and then a bunch of really good sprinters as well. In terms of Conference, the past year or two we’ve lost to Lake Forest, but I think we have a really good chance of beating them this year. They didn’t get a lot of freshmen recruits but we lost about the same amount of talent from our senior classes last year. … I’m really optimistic for this weekend. I think we’re going to be able to beat Lake Forest because they suck.

When did you start swimming?

When I started swimming I was eight or nine, but I didn’t get serious about it until my junior year in high school. I had one friend who I had been swimming with since the beginning who was just naturally a better athlete than me and was always beating me by half a second or a quarter of a second. It was just because he was two inches taller and had longer arms. So, I switched club teams and started practicing more frequently and doing harder practices because I wanted to beat him. And I did. He also swam one year in college and dropped out, so I beat him on that, too.

Do you think there was anything else that made you stick with it besides that very specific sense of competition?

Coming into Grinnell, you have an automatic group of people you know you’re going to hang out with all the time. It’s one of the great things about playing a sport. And a lot of it is just because a good amount of my friends come from the swim teams I’ve been on.

How do you think being on the team has shaped your experience at Grinnell?

My first year I was still able to make a lot of friends outside the swim team, which is what I wanted. I have all my friends from NSO, my first year roommate, people from Norris third. … It does make it kind of hard to hang out with my friends who aren’t on the swim team, at least Oct. 1 through the end of February because I finish classes, I go to practice, I eat dinner with the swim team, I eat breakfast with the swim team, lunch with the swim team. Sometimes I’ll go off and sit with my other friends, I really enjoy it, but for that period of time it really does change who I hang out with a lot.

What is your favorite Harris?

Mary B. James is a shitshow, always. … Soccer Ball sucks, I think it’s unanimous that it is the worst Harris. It was only just surmounted by G-Harmony, which got cancelled at 11:30 because no one showed up. … Fetish is hilarious. … Jeez, I don’t know. I can’t remember some of the best ones, to be honest. … I gotta say … the Harris I like the most is probably Mary B. James because nobody really has any inhibitions there. I’m dressed as a girl, nobody really cares what they look like, [and] it’s great.

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