Jessica Ferley is a senior swimmer from Rapid City, S.D. She owns five school records and has won over 40 events in her career.
Why did you choose to go to SDSU?
When I first came to visit campus during my senior year of high school I really liked the atmosphere. I really liked the coaches. Phil Hurley did a great job recruiting me. I really liked Brad Erickson. I've known of Brad for a very long time since I'm from South Dakota originally. It was a really great fir for me, and I really liked the team. I thought it would be awesome to be a jackrabbit.
Are there any professional swimmers you look up to?
I might date myself a little bit, but Jenny Thompson has always been a big sports role model for me. I've liked her ever since I was little. I have a big poster of her in my room. She has been my biggest role model, in swimming at least.
What is it like playing under such an experienced head coach?
He really does know what's going on. I've been in his office quite a bit. He's got a lot of books about swimming and different techniques. I know he changed quite a few things about my stroke when I came here. I really like all the changes that he has made. I think he really tries to keep up with all his swimmers and see what's going on and learn new things. Phil has been very good about learning new things too and helping Brad help our team grow.
The swimming pool was remodeled over the summer. What was it like not having a pool over the summer?
I was actually here all summer. I interned with Brad this summer, so I got to see all the changes made. At least we had the outdoor pool to work in over the summer. We were also able to use the Brookings High School pool when everybody got here. It was a big strain on our team trying to get all the hours worked out. It was a tough time, but I think we made it through all right. It made us better as a team, and we grew closer.
What is your favorite class you have taken at SDSU?
Right now I'm in rock climbing class, and I absolutely love it. It's so fun. John Ball is the teacher. We don't just learn rock climbing, we learned about rope climbing and how to repel down things. We got to repel in Frost Arena and it was a real cool experience. That would probably be one of my favorite classes.
What is your favorite movie?
Probably the Harry Potter movies. I read all the books when I was younger. I really loved the movies. I would say all of them are my favorite.
What is your favorite book?
Was God on Vacation by Jack van der Geest. He was in a concentration camp, and he ended up escaping. He was a translator for the US army for many years. I did a national history day project in middle school, and I got to interview him for this documentary that I did. His story is very neat. He pretended to be dead to escape the concentration camp. I read it probably 20 times.
What makes a swimmer a good swimmer?
Motivation and dedication. I know that's probably a really corny answer. You can have all the talent and technique you want, but if you don't have the dedication you're not going to make it in swimming. We have a lot of motivation on our team to get in the water and get things done. That's really made our team grow, at least in the last four years that I've been here. It helps with incoming freshmen if the seniors are all motivated. Then the freshmen get that mentality and grow as swimmers and become better swimmers because of it.
You own five school records. What does that mean to you, and do you ever think about it?
I'll be honest; it's pretty cool. When I came to college I never thought I'd have this. I've been swimming since I was born basically. It's a good feeling when I come to practice and see my name up on the record board. It's a really good feeling. I think I'll look back on it and think I accomplished something in my college swimming career. It's kind of cool.
Do you have any goals or expectations for the season?
Yeah, I do. Last year my main goal was to medal at the conference meet. I ended up getting two of them. This year my goal is to get a second place medal, because I got two third place medals last year. I kind of want to get a silver medal. Oakland is our biggest competitor when we get to conference. I kind of want to show Oakland that SDSU is there to compete and hopefully beat them.
Do you have a favorite moment in swimming so far?
Last year at conference one of our freshmen, Chris Schreier, made it to finals and he was the first seed in the 200 butterfly. If you are the first seed at conference you get to pick your own walk out song. He decided to pick the song The Creep by The Lonely Island. When the song came on he came out doing the creep, and our whole team was doing it. Then I looked up into the stands and all the parents were doing the creep with him. It was a real cool moment to see how much support our parents give to us as a team.
The Jackrabbit Spotlight will pick an SDSU student-athlete or coach to interview each week. Interviews will be posted on GoJacks.com each Monday.