Senior swimmer Laura
Graziano reflects on the final home meet of her career, her time at Pepperdine,
and what it has meant to be a Wave:
Q: You just finished your last home meet as a Wave. What are the emotions running through your head?
A: It hasn't quite hit me yet. We had a really great senior meet, and it was a lot of fun, so it hasn't quite clicked that it was our last meet at the pool. I don't think that I am feeling that emotional yet, just because I feel as though I am in denial, but it did seem like a really great way to end our season at home.
Q: How would you gauge the success of the team at the final home meet?
A: It was quick, just us and a few LMU girls, so it was great to swim a lot of races and enter in some events that we wouldn't normally enter. It was fun to change it up and have fun before the conference meet. I think overall, the atmosphere was enjoyable and exciting.
Q: Going into the PCSC Championships, what have preparations been like, and how confident is the team going into it?
A: We are starting our taper, so everyone is excited about that. We get to swim fewer yards or take more breaks in order to prepare. We are feeling confident. We have the most depth that we have ever had, at least in the last four years, so there are a lot of strengths on the team that we can pull from and use in a lot of different races. Knowing that, we have a ton of confidence going into conference.
Q: What are the team goals for the meet? Also, what are your personal goals for this final meet of your career?
A: As a team, we want to be in the top three to five or so. We placed really well last year, so as a team we want to be able to go out with a strong note again this year. Individually, I want to get some more best times. I want to finish my last races ever with the feeling that I've left it all in the pool. We are definitely excited, and think that we are pretty tough to beat this year.
Q: You, along with the five other seniors, were honored this past weekend for senior day. What has it meant to have those five other women on this journey with you as a Pepperdine Wave?
A: They have definitely made my time at Pepperdine on the swim team. Looking back, all of my favorite memories have been with those five girls, so they have shaped my career, both as a swimmer and also just as a Pepperdine student. I think all of my successes are due to them, and I am so thankful that I have had them along this journey with me.
Q: As you reflect on your time at Pepperdine, can you pick out the single-most memorable moment in your career?
A: Outside of the pool, probably the trip that I took to Fiji through IP. It was a medical missions trip, and I really loved being there for a month and be able to serve in that community. It was so different than anything that I have experienced before. My favorite swimming memory has been being able to see how our dynamic has changed over the years that I have been here. Each year, no matter how big the team is, or who is on the team, it has been awesome to see how we have come together as a team. Not really a specific memory, but rather a lot of memories that have contributed to my career as a swimmer here.
Q: What has being a Pepperdine swimmer been like, and how has it affected the course of your life as a person?
A: It has helped me learn discipline for sure. Growing up, I have always swam, but that was a little different because the coursework wasn't the same in middle school and high school. Balancing a course-load from Pepperdine and being on the swim team has made me learn a lot of self-discipline and time management. A lot of great things that I have learned here will also be really applicable later on in my life. Pepperdine has also helped me learn better values. Our coach is such an awesome man, and he always has so much wisdom to share with us. He is not only helping us train physically, but also is training us to become better people.
Q: Thinking back to four years ago when you came in as a freshman, what were your expectations of Pepperdine? Throughout your years here, has Pepperdine lived up to the expectations that you had?
A: You always hear that college is the best four years of your life, so I think that I had high expectations. I was thinking that because it was college, that I needed it to be an amazing experience. Especially hearing about the reputation that Pepperdine has both academically and athletically. I had high expectations for the swim team as well, because they were on the way up after almost being terminated from the university. I definitely had high expectations. Those high expectations have definitely been met. Thanks to the team, I have been able to be a part of a unique community all four years, which has shaped Pepperdine for me. Not only that, but being able to meet so many people through my classes and becoming close with a lot of the faculty members, has definitely gone above and beyond what I could have ever hoped for.
Q: What do you hope the legacy of this year's senior class will be for future Pepperdine swimmers?
A: We have had a great sense of leadership this year, I think. I hope that the rising seniors can carry that role and can make sure that everybody on the team feels included and that they belong to something. I think that we have done a good job so far, so I hope that it continues to be a comfortable environment in which all the girls would be able to push themselves to become better swimmers, but also better people.