Oct. 29, 2012

Out of the water senior Shannon Draves brings an easy going, laid back ease to the Ohio State women’s swimming and diving team. In the water, however, Draves is one of the Big Ten Conference’s fiercest competitors. With individual varsity records in the 100 butterfly (52.76) and 200 butterfly (1:56.35) as well as a Big Ten championship in the 200 butterfly, Draves is already one of the most decorated swimmers in Ohio State history. This season, the Gilbertsville, Pa., native will look to build on her past success. After reaching the finals of the 200 butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials over the summer, Draves returns to the Scarlet and Gray with a newfound confidence and swagger.

Ohio State head coach Bill Dorenkott on Shannon:
“I’d argue that Shannon Draves has improved as much as any collegiate swimmer in America. She is not going to impress you in terms of her stature, but she is just a great kid and has worked for everything she has gotten. Right now she is probably ranked pretty solid in the world and is just setting herself up for a terrific senior season.”

“She is humble and hard working. She is also grounded and selfless as it relates to giving her time and energy to her teammates. Shannon is everything you would want in a daughter, student or an athlete – just a great kid.”


Q&A with Shannon:
What inspires you to become a better swimmer?

“Being around so many girls who have a desire to go so far in swimming definitely has had huge impact on me. It is really incredible how many of these girls have such high goals and a majority of them are going to achieve them.”

How will you use your experience at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials as an advantage this season?
“Going to the Olympic Team Trials was a dream. I have thought about going since I was little. It definitely topped off the summer. I have gained a lot of confidence since the meet, swimming against some of the fastest people from all around the United States. I had Olympic medalists in my heat, so that was something I had to overcome as far as nerves. The experience is only going to give me more confidence going into Big Tens and NCAAs.”

What specific improvements have you made during your time at Ohio State?
“Bill [Dorenkott] told me specifically I needed to work on my aerobic freestyle. I focused a lot on that all of last year and it has improved a lot since. Also, I wanted to get stronger in the weight room. I’m only five feet three inches, so I need to make up for it strength wise.”

What expectations did you have for yourself when you arrived at Ohio State?
“I basically came to Ohio State with a blank check. I didn’t know how far I would realistically be able to go with swimming. After I talked to Bill on my recruiting trips I decided to put my trust in him to take me as far as I could go with swimming.”

How would you describe this year’s team?
“We have a lot more freshmen this season than we did last year. This season we have 14 new freshman, plus two transfers. It is great though because all of them are so energetic and it has totally changed the team’s atmosphere. It is a lot livelier now. There are so many different personalities, which I think makes the team much better. We are going to be ready to compete and have some fun.”

Is there a new teammate in particular you expect to standout this season?
“I’m actually excited myself to see who is going to be the standout – that person who is going to step-up to get their hand on the wall. We are divided into short and long practices right now. It will be exciting to finally see who has been putting in the work.”

How do you and your teammates handle the rigorous schedule of collegiate swimming?
“I don’t know if Bill specifically recruits people who are type A personalities or if those people are just a product of swimming, but we have a lot of girls on our team who love having something to do all the time. It is part of our personalities. We are always looking for something to do and will get things accomplished when they need to be accomplished.”

What are your post-graduation plans?
“I’m not sure exactly where I want to live after school. I’m an early education major, so I have to find where I want to live first. After that I can start to look into jobs.”