Junior Arlen Fan of UR Men’s Swimming & Diving has been the team’s strongest breaststroker this season. Fan’s accomplishments include breaking two school records, along with hitting a provisional qualifier in the 100-meter breaststroke at the UAA Championships. This past week, Fan was named Liberty League Swimmer of the week.
What is your first memory in a pool?
I remember when I first started to swim at my grandfather’s house when I was three or four, and I would always hang on to the walls. One day, my dad carried and dropped me in the middle, and I had to swim to the nearest wall. I immediately felt that I was sinking and that terrified me. For a long time, I wouldn’t go near a pool. My parents still give me a hard time for that moment.
How has swimming impacted your life?
I have so many memories from my time swimming. In high school, I’ve had great seasons, where I would go on a 20 event winning streak with personal bests. I’ve also had bad seasons, which made me quit my junior year of high school. I picked it back up senior year, but I lost a year of training. Overall, swimming has taught me to be persistent. Reaching goals takes a lot of hard work, and most of the time, it isn’t a straightforward path. Also, through swimming, I have built meaningful relationships with my coaches and teammates. I spend time with them more than any other group. Even though we are weird and quirky, we get along well and come up with the best inside jokes.
What was your favorite swim meet during your UR career?
Without a doubt, it would be UR vs. Nazareth in the 2014-15 season. During the 100-meter breaststroke, which is one of my principal events, I slipped off the diving block and belly flopped into the water, hitting my shin on the metal frame. In the first five seconds of the race, all of my competitors were already halfway across the pool. I was so embarrassed and angry, but I sprinted and quickly caught up. I ended up winning the race with blood dripping down my foot.
How did it feel to break two school records and why?
It was a great milestone in my time as a swimmer, but I know that I have more to accomplish as an athlete. If anyone told me that I would swim under 58 seconds in the 100-meter breaststroke three years ago, I would have been like, “No way.” Now, my time stands at 56.79, and I know I can set the bar higher next season.
Do you enjoy the team dynamic, and why?
I think the team has a good dynamic. We support each other during practices and cheer people on during meets, but are also extremely competitive. We may be teammates, but we also compete against each other during practices (especially the dreaded test sets) and meets. It is a nice feeling being able to beat a teammate, and it can sometimes be a great motivator.
What does is mean to be Liberty League swimmer of the week?
It’s always nice to be recognized, especially in the Liberty League swimming. We won’t be a part of the Liberty League next season, but I’m glad I got my name out there before we left the conference.
If you were to pick your last meal, what would it be and who would you eat it with?
Egg-fried rice with my three younger brothers. It has always been a comfort food that I cooked a lot at home.