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Menzel Ready For Last Championship Meet As A Razorback

03/20/2014
Athletic Communications
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FAYETTEVILLE - Senior Nicole Menzel (Hilton Head, S.C.) will be participating in her third and final NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. from Thursday to Saturday.

The distance swimmer attended her first NCAA Championship meet in 2012, finishing 25th in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:25.49. Menzel improved her time in 2013 to place 19th in 16:11.13. She also swam in the 500 freestyle last season, placing 29th with a time of 4:43.97.

Returning to her specialty in distance swimming for a final season, Menzel will swim in the 500 freestyle and 1,650 freestyle during the 2014 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Menzel currently holds the 28th-fastest time in the 1,650 freestyle in the country.

Menzel answered a few questions prior racing in her final meet.

Q: What are some emotions that you will take with you into the NCAA Championships this year?  

Menzel: I'm definitely more excited this year than I have been the past two years for this meet.  That being said, I've already gotten emotional multiple times just thinking about ending my swimming career.  The excitement outweighs the sadness though, and I couldn't be more ready to go out with a bang this year!

Q: As the lone senior on the trip, and as the most experienced NCAA participant of the Arkansas contingency, how will you provide leadership to the team over the week?   

Menzel: Throughout this whole year all the seniors did a great job taking on a leadership role and leading the team through a hugely successful season.  Since I'm the only one left, it's my responsibility to step up and lead these six girls through another great meet.  I plan on sharing my experiences from past years, and providing the best advice I can to help all of the girls reach their maximum individual potential to close out the season.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the meet? 

Menzel: I'm definitely most excited for the mile on Saturday.  Even though I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this event, it has gotten me this far in my swimming career and has made me as successful as I have been.  Swimming aside, I am very excited to close out my swimming career with this group of girls, coaches, and staff. It's been a pleasure sharing this experience with all of them.

Q: What’s something a fan may not know about the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships?  

Menzel: Well, unlike some other team sports, qualifying for the NCAA Championships depends on individual swims. Yes, relays can also qualify, but I mean that your team cannot simply qualify based on ranking.  Furthermore, the individuals on our team have to swim certain time standards and be individually ranked high enough in the nation in order to be invited to the NCAA Championships.  

Q: What are some of the team goals for the week?  

Menzel: We want to end up scoring in the top 25 as a team, which would be a better finish than last year.  Also, we want to have all of our relays make finals, and also try to get as many individuals to score points as possible.  These are all highly achievable goals with this group of girls, and I can't wait to get this meet underway!

Be sure to check out Menzel and the team in action Thursday morning beginning at 11 a.m. A live stream will be available here during competition. 

For more information on Arkansas swimming and diving, follow @RazorbackSwim on Twitter.

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