Get to know Indiana University's Eric Ress

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created October 14th, 2011 11:48:01 PM

Modified October 15th, 2011 06:45:05 AM

Indiana University's Eric Ress is this week’s featured swimmer. Eric, who was named the 2010-11 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, has enjoyed many successes throughout his career.

His successes have come in the form of multiple all-American honors, a French National Title, multiple school records, first-team All-Big Ten honors, and a meet record in the 100 backstroke at the 2011 Big Ten Championships.

In this SwimUtopia interview Eric tells us about his biggest accomplishment in swimming and whom he considers to be the most influential person in his life.

Let’s get started!

What made you choose Indiana University?

a.    A bunch of reasons! The coaching staff was the first to take notice of me at Spring Championships in 2007. They were pretty aggressive about recruiting me and that meant a lot. Also my father Colin Ress swam for Doc Counsilman in the late 70s and I have family ties to Indiana. My mother Beth Ress is from La Porte, IN and my older siblings live there now.

b.    I primarily came because of the tradition of backstroke. This goes way back to even before my father swam at IU, but with swimmers like Ben Hesen, Leila Vaziri and Kate Fesenko I knew I could achieve my goals as a Hoosier.

What other schools did you look at during your recruiting process?

University of Southern California, Harvard, Stanford, and UNC Chapel Hill

What places did you come in at this past year’s Big 10 and NCAA Championships?

I was 1st in the 100 back, 2nd in the 200 back and 3rd in the 200 IM at Big Ten’s and 2nd in both the 100, 200 back at NCAAs

Did those results match up with the goals you set at the beginning of this season?

Yes and no. My original goals for the season were to win an NCAA title, but after Big Ten’s I realigned my goals and I’m pretty happy with how I did.

You were named the 2010-11 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. What did that mean to you?

It meant a lot to me. I was competing against a handful of guys for the award that also had great seasons. Dan Madwed, who is also from Connecticut, had a great season a long with Kyle Whitaker. Those two stuck out especially after having raced them in season.

What does having done so well this past NCAA season do to your confidence going into your senior season and the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games?

It gives me a fair amount of confidence, but I’m also very much aware about the difference between yards and the “big pool”. In the past I’ve felt my long course is better, but after taking a class in Connecticut this past summer I know I need to really crack down and train as hard as possible going into this upcoming year.

What is it like training with everyone at IU?

It’s honestly what makes being here so much fun. I look forward to every practice with my teammates, especially my class of seniors and the backstrokers. Since we were freshmen, Jimmy Barbiere, Ryan Hinshaw, Tyler Shedron, Andrew Taylor and John “Doodle” Schnittker have really done well training mid-distance free together. This year James Wells has really stepped it up and training backstroke with him is awesome.

What does the IU coaching staff do to help set you up for success?

They promote my goals as an individual while keeping the teams best interest in mind. They’ve created a training program that allows me to succeed both as a college and national caliber swimmer. One thing that sticks out is the pulley system we have at IU. It’s really second to none and I attribute that to my improvement from high school.

It was reported that you are switching your sport nationality from France to the United States. What are the reasons behind this change?

Actually, I’ve decided to maintain my French sports nationality. It was a pretty difficult decision, but it’s what I truly want to do. The reasoning isn’t because it’s easier, because after the World Championships in Shanghai, the French have proven to be one of the fastest backstroke countries in the world. I want to stay French because it’s what I’ve been doing since I was little and I’ve identified myself as a French swimmer after having represented them multiple times.

What has been your most memorable moment so far with the Hoosiers?

This one is pretty tough. Over the course of 4 years there have been so many great times in and out of the pool, but I’d say seeing my teammates achieve goals while representing IU. This past summer seeing Andrew Taylor and John Schnittker get their Olympic Trial cuts was something that meant a lot to me because I train with these guys every day and I knew what they were capable of.

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been in swimming?

My biggest accomplishment was probably NCAAs this past year. Getting second by 0.12 twice in both backstrokes was just short of what I wanted, but it was one of my best place finishes at the level of competition.

What are your top times?

a.    100 yard back: 45.11
b.    200 yard back: 1:38.9
c.    200 yard IM: 1:44.07
d.    200 yard free: 1:34.67
e.    100 meter back: 54.67
f.    200 meter back: 1:58.58

What would you say motivates you?

My teammates and knowing that my competition is out there training as hard or harder than me.

What are some things that people may not know about you?

I have traveled with a stuffed animal shark named “Mark” to every swim meet I’ve been to since I was in 5th grade.

What is your favorite pump-up band or artist to listen to before racing?

Anything by Eminem, Daft Punk or it depends based on new songs that are out.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

None that I can think of. I tend to warm-up based on feel rather than do the same thing every time. I try to stay calm and relaxed.

What records do you hold?

IU Records, 200 back, 200 free, 200 IM

What is your favorite food?

Ice cream, hands down. I’m addicted…ask Cody Miller hahah

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

Definitely my Dad. He has helped me so much both with swimming and school and has taught me what it takes to not only be a great student-athlete, but more importantly a great person. Along with him I’d say my Mom. She’s always there and although she’s not as “obsessed” with my swimming as my Dad is, she’s my number one fan.

What would you say is the hardest practice that you have ever done?

15 x 100 backstroke with a tarp…underwater work where you have to go about 13 meters off of each wall no matter what.

At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to take swimming to the next level?

At French Junior nationals when I was 14.