Kyle Catani is a senior freestyle0distance swimmer from Ballwin, Mo. He has four career wins and is a part of the school record holding 800-meter freestyle relay team.
Why did you choose to go to SDSU?
I was recruited here to swim out of high school. Originally I was going to major in pharmacy, but I ended up switching to athletic training. I am now in my first year of the program. Everything has worked out pretty well.
Why did you switch from pharmacy to athletic training?
I always felt like I was doing it for the money. Ever since I was a little kid I was always into sports. I can work with athletes every day with athletic training, and I'm loving it.
Are there any professional swimmers that you look up to or model yourself after?
Not really. One that comes to mind maybe is Erik Vendt. He's not as big of a name as Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte. He's a distance swimmer like me. He once came to a practice with my club team and did a stroke clinic with Rowdy Gaines. I see a lot of similarities between him and myself.
Who do you think was a better swimmer, Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz?
It's hard to tell. I guess statistically you would have to say Michael Phelps with what he has done the past few Olympics. Winning eight gold medals was unheard of. Somehow he managed to do it. I would have to say Phelps.
What is your favorite class you have taken at SDSU?
It's one of my current classes, assessment of lower extremity injuries. It's nice to be building up a knowledge base for my career.
What is your favorite movie?
Horrible Bosses. I found it to be extremely funny. I like any comedy movies that you can quote over and over. The Hangover is a great example. You can quote that movie every day and it will never get old.
Who is the best swimmer you have ever swam against?
At the moment I'd have to say Chris Schreier on our team. He brought a lot to our team last year. He works hard every day just to get better. He won the conference in one of his events as a freshman. That's just outstanding on his part. It says a lot, not just about how hard he works, but how well the coaches are doing training him both in the weight room and on the pool deck.
You are one member of the school record 800-meter Freestyle Relay team. What does that mean to you?
It's just a great opportunity to be a part of a record setting relay. It helped going into the conference last year that we knew we had a great shot at breaking the relay record. It has sunk in, but at the same time I know the record will probably be broken again this year. Each year our team is getting faster and faster. A record lasting more than one year at this point is uncommon. I would say that 80-85 percent of our records fell last year, and most of those guys were underclassmen that are back this year. It was a great experience though to be on that relay team and see my name up on the record board for at least a year.
What's it like for you guys to just keep breaking records?
The coaches have done a great job recruiting the past few years. Each year they have brought in a class of freshmen that have exceeded our expectations. They work hard in the pool and the weight room. It's fun to watch them every meet to see what they can do, especially in conference. That's when you're rested and you're ready to go fast, and still they somehow find ways to surprise you with how fast they can go. I expect the majority of the records to broken again this year.
You're from Missouri. What are some differences between Missouri and South Dakota?
The pace of the city. I grew up in St. Louis where everything was fast paced. It's a fairly large city. It doesn't take five or ten minutes to drive places like it does here in Brookings. There's a lot more people and a lot more going on. Coming to Brookings was a nice change of pace for me. It doesn't seem like everyone is in a hurry all the time to get places. I loved living in St. Louis, but it's been a nice change of pace living here too. I wouldn't mind living in either place when I graduate.
Do you have any specific goals or expectations for the season?
We've had a couple of great meets so far. We'd never beat Green Bay in a duel meet before, until this year. We absolutely killed them. They did not win a single swimming event. We beat them by 60 or 70 points. That was huge. We've had a couple of rough meets lately, but it doesn't take away from the big picture we're looking at each year. We've improved in the conference each year. We're trying to get as close to Oakland as we can. They've won the conference the last 12 years or so. I think getting second in the conference is a very achievable goal, and I think we'll surprise people on how close we come to Oakland.
How did you originally get involved in swimming?
I actually got into swimming because my mom kept pressuring me to do it when I was about eight years old. We had just moved to St. Louis. We had a pool in our neighborhood, and she just kept asking me and pushing me to join the neighborhood team. I didn't want to. She kept asking me and finally I said I would just to get her to stop asking me. Ever since then I've been doing it, and I found out I'm pretty good at it.
When you talk to people that are not swimmers, do they have any strange questions or misconceptions?
When you talk to people that are not swimmers it occasionally brings up some awkward situations. Swimmers have their own lingo. When you talk to swimmers when there is a non-swimmer in the group they get left out sometimes. They frequently get confused looks on their faces because they don't know what you are talking about. I've been swimming for about 14 years now, and it's a little sad that it's coming to an end this year. I've made so many friends along the way. It's just sad that once the season is over I won't get to see them everyday. When you go to college you don't have many friends at first when you're from so far away. Like me, I came all the up here from Missouri. I didn't really know anybody, but instantly you have 40 or 50 friends waiting for you on the deck everyday. It's definitely been a great experience.
The Jackrabbit Spotlight will pick an SDSU student-athlete or coach to interview each week. Interviews will be posted on GoJacks.com each Monday.