June 29, 1999
Dan Szilier is a junior swimmer at Notre Dame. He holds the Notre Dame record in the 200-yard breaststroke and won the event at the 1999 BIG EAST Championships to help the Irish place second, the team’s best-ever finish.
Szilier qualified for the World University Games in the 200 meters at last summer’s Phillips 66 National Championship where he placed seventh. The Norristown, Pa., native will swim July 4, in Mallorca, Spain, on the first day of competition.
Q: What are your initial expectations for the World University Games?
A: I think it’s going to be a great experience. I’ve never competed internationally before, so I’m really looking forward to that. It sounds like the competition should be pretty good. The other American (Barry Wynn) and I, just between ourselves, are going to be pretty competitive, and I’m sure there are a lot of other people out there who are going to be right up there with us.
Q: How does it feel to be the first Notre Dame men’s swimmer to be a member of Team USA?
A: I think it’s really good for the team. We’ve been trying to take our team to the next level, so I think this will really help us along, both in recruiting and overall.
Q: How will the long course (50 meters) be different than swimming a short course (25 meters/yards)?
A: I tend to be a better long course swimmer, so in that case, it will be to my benefit. It’s just something you have to train for. Right here at home, we’ve been doing long course training three days a week, so I’m getting pretty used to it and should be all right.
Q: What are you expecting from the team experience?
A: I’m looking forward to the whole experience in general. It’s going to be a great time. We got together once for this little training trip in Colorado a couple of months ago and since then our team has been trying to build really good bonds by talking over email and on the phone. We’ve become pretty close. It’s basically going to be a week-long trip with a bunch of my friends, so I’m just going to try to enjoy it as much as possible.
Q: Do you think this is going to help you in the quest to qualify for the NCAAs?
A: I think that the NCAAs are definitely where I need to be. This meet is showing that I’m at the level where I should be competing at the top of the college circuit.
Q: What do you think about competing on the Fourth of July?
A: I think it’s going to be great. Not only is it the first day of competition, but we’ve got the whole Fourth of July aspect to it, too. I know there’s going to be a lot of energy surrounding our team that day, so it’s going to make it a lot easier to go faster.
Q: What do you think about representing our country rather than just your school or club team?
A: I’ve already gotten all my USA clothing and suits and it’s a whole different feeling having USA on you instead of having Notre Dame or my club team’s name. Rather than just representing a little group, you’re representing a whole country.
Q: Are you going back immediately following the competition?
A: The team is staying there until July 10 and then I’m going to France and England with my family until the 20th.
Q: So is your whole family going over there to watch you?
A: Yes. They kind of turned it into a reason to take a trip to Europe. We’re going to get a little touring in and then I’m going to head to the beach for the rest of the summer.