Get to Know Xavier University's Michael Zennedjian

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created March 7th, 2012 08:58:09 AM

Modified March 7th, 2012 09:08:49 AM

Xavier University’s Michael Zennedjian is our latest featured swimmer. Michael, a senior, has enjoyed many successes while with the Musketeers.

Throughout his career he has earned Most Outstanding Performer of the Atlantic 10 Championships distinctions, set multiple A-10 records, earned the Atlantic 10 Rookie Performer of the Year award in 2009, and set several school records.

In this SwimUtopia interview Michael tells us about his pre-meet rituals and what the Xavier coaching staff does to help set him up for success.

Let’s get started!

What made you choose Xavier University?

-Xavier has always had a great reputation for academics in the Midwest, especially for their business school. When I found out that they had a swim team, it was a done deal.

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

-I was recruited by Miami of Ohio, University of Michigan, Penn State and Hawaii.

At this year’s Atlantic 10 Championships you were named the Most Outstanding Performer. As a senior what does this mean to you?

-Everything. I knew it would be difficult to repeat certain parts of my championship performance from junior year, but the coaching staff really put our team in a great position to swim fast this year.

What is it like training with everyone at XU?

-The most intense environment I have ever been in. It's not easy waking up day in and day out at 6am just to jump into an ice cold pool. We all have that in common and we keep each other in check at all times. One mind, one body, one beast.

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

-I have no doubt in my mind that we are one of the hardest working teams in the country. The coaching staff challenges us every day an it doesn't gets old. I never thought I would hear myself say this but I looked forward to practice every day.

What has been your most memorable moment with the team?

-At our conference championship this year. I felt like we came together as a team for the first time in my 4 years here. Usually, we have a few good swims now and again but this year everyone stepped up and played their role. This sport is so exciting when all of your hard work pays off come taper time.

I'd also say winning high school state titles in the 200 IM and 100 breast at Oakland universities pool in 2008. It's my favorite pool and a great way to end my high school career.

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

-Swimming at long course nationals this past summer. It is hard to truly understand swimming until you've seen the best athletes in the sport compete against one another.  It opened up my eyes to the next level and what it takes to get there.

What are your top times?

- 1:48.2 200 IM, 3:51.5 400 IM 1:48 200 butterfly

What would you say motivates you?

-I'm driven by my teammates and my role as captain. There is so much motivation in the fact that your teammates always have your back. I felt like my co captain Chadeau really embraced the opportunity to lead this season.

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

- It's safe to say that I am the greatest N64 Super Smash Brothers player in the midwest, possibly even on a global level.

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

-Ever since Jay Z and Kanye released "Watch The Throne," I haven't been able to put it down.  Other than that I like to mix in some mellow stuff to help me relax before my races.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

-I have worn the same racing suit at our conference meet for 3 years. I'm pretty superstitious about my gear when I race. I also have a lucky penny that I tuck in my suit before each of my finals races. When I put it in, I've never lost a race.  Never admitted that before!

What records do you hold?

-I hold a record from my high school in Michigan that was previously held by a member of the 1998 national championship team. It was one of my greatest accomplishments and I'll always cherish it. I also hold the 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 butterfly for the Atlantic 10 and XU.

What is your favorite food?

-Chicken Parm. Any time...anywhere.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

-I have had a lot of great leaders in my life. I honestly couldn't have accomplished anything without my parents. I also have to thank my coach Mike Venos at Brother Rice High School for turning a scrawny little freshmen into the man I am today.  

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

-10x400 IM's off the block during our training trip in Florida. Our coach Tim Williams is a mad genius and made sure our IM group trained harder than anyone we would race all season.

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

-I had always hoped to continue swimming or playing tennis at the next level. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I started to focus on division 1 programs full time. I was a bit of a late bloomer in the world of swimming.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three objects would you have to have with you?

-So many choices, but I'd say a pack of cinnamon gum, a bag of animal crackers and my 7 iron to work on my golf swing.



Check out our past featured swimmers here