Senior swimmer Kathrine
Kuhlmann talks to us about her time as a Pepperdine student-athlete, and how
the semester break affects the team heading into the final meets of the school
year, including the upcoming PCSC Championships:
Q: The Waves were just at a meet hosted by LMU. How do you feel that meet went as a team?
A: It went really well! We were back and forth between first and second for the entire meet, so we were really excited, and had a lot of good energy. It was a really good precursor for conference because we were super supportive of one another and cheering for every girl on the team the entire time, which is what we need to get through a four-day meet like conference.
Q: How do you think that you will be able to keep up that energy going into the conference meet (February 8-11)?
A: It is kind of a good thing that we took second to LMU this weekend because falling by that small of a margin is going to get us even more excited for conference. We know that we can beat them, and we will have that feeling and that fight to beat them in conference.
Q: With the sport being a split season, with competitions during both the fall and the spring, how did the semester break affect the outcome of the meet?
A: I think that all of us were really ready to be back in the pool competing. We all went back home and trained with our club teams over break, so it was nice to be back with our own teams and be able to support one another. I think that was a big reason why we were able to rally behind each other. We had been apart for two weeks, so it was really nice to be back together as a team again.
Q: What was your training like during the break?
A: It was rough. I did early morning sessions as well as late-night sessions with my club team back home. For me, the break wasn't really too much of a break, because I was training for two hours every morning, training every night for two hours, and then eating and sleeping in between. Training was extremely tough back at home, and it is really nice to be back in Malibu training with my team, rather than my old club team.
Q: Did the cold weather of Missouri during the winter months affect you wanting to train over the break? And if so, how did you push yourself to get in the pool despite the cold?
A: Oh, absolutely. It made it so hard to get out of bed in the morning. You are bundled up in blankets, keeping warm, but you have to get up and go jump into a cold pool, which is an awful feeling. But knowing that conference is coming up, and that the biggest part of our season was after break, really gave me the motivation to get out of bed and into the water. Also, this is the end of my career as a swimmer, so knowing that it is only another couple of weeks with my club team that I have been a part of since middle school, gave me the motivation to finish with them on a high note.
Q: How did you come to be a swimmer? Was it something that you were always interested in?
A: I have been swimming since I was four. I have really bad knees, so it was the only sport that I could do. It started out as physical therapy, but eventually became a passion and a massive part of my life up to this point.
Q: You just mentioned that you weren't able to play any other sports growing up because of your knees. Why is that?
A: I was born with twisted bones, so my kneecaps dislocate all the time. Anything that is hard on your joints, like simply walking, is a challenge for me, so being able to get in the water and only have to use my joints to push off the walls makes it so nice that I get to partake in athletic competition.
Q: You are a part of the Waves Leadership Council. What exactly is the council?
A: On other campuses around the nation, there are organizations called SAAC, but here at Pepperdine, we call it the Waves Leadership Council. We meet twice a month talking about leadership. Last semester we went through a book called Habitudes, by Tim Elmore, which taught us better ways to lead, and how to translate those aspects to our athletic teams. We also are on separate sub-committees. I am a part of the Chaplain committee, so being able to be a part of the spiritual life on campus in our athletic department has been a really cool experience.
Q: This is your fourth and final year as a Pepperdine Wave. What has the student-athlete experience been like for you, and how has Pepperdine affected the course of your life?
A: I have absolutely loved being a student-athlete at Pepperdine. I feel that athletics treats us extremely well. It is such a good community, with so many friends. I have also made a lot of connections through Pepperdine athletics with all the opportunities that they have provided. With every Bible study and every meeting and leadership meeting, there is so much that I have learned to be able to be a leader in so many other aspects of my life.