Seven Questions with Stephen Quinn, Big West Swimming Athlete of the Week
Dec. 1, 2008
Stockton, Calif. - Media Relations graduate assistant and swimming SID Monique Moyal had a chance to sit down and talk with senior Stephen Quinn the day after he was named Big West Conference Athlete of the Week for the week of Nov. 5, 2008.
MM: What's going through your mind as you're looking towards the 2008-09 season now in your senior year here at Pacific?
SQ: I feel great; I'm really excited about what the team's doing this year and the environment on deck is a lot more positive. That's really going to contribute to our success in the pool and everyone's success in the pool. I'm also looking forward to our senior meet and the conference championships. It's a different feel with a new coach, and it's sort of a little boost. Something new is happening and everybody's feeling a little spark from it.
SQ: At the beginning when we didn't have our assistant coach, it was awesome that we had all these student assistant coaches. Now with Goose, he brings a bunch of positive energy and he's always excited, always smiling. Emily, she's our new GA, is a huge step up the way she interacts with us. The attitudes of the assistants are interactive in a positive way. I thought it was going to be a lot more weird [swimming for Craig and Krzysztof] but on those bad days you know they went through it too, so they're not going to throw anything too extreme at you. It helps us through practice knowing they've gone through everything. Their technical experience with strokes - Krzysztof was the best guy on our team in freestyle and IM races - makes his advice invaluable.
MM: What is the best memory at Pacific?
SQ: The coolest thing that happened is being able to compete at a really high level against the best. We've had dual meets against Cal-Berkeley and their team is stacked with Olympians. We are able to race Olympians, watch how the best do it and race them; whether it's an American record holder, Larsen Jensen at USC, silver medalist Eric Vendt or Michael Cavic who was out-touched by Michael Phelps in the Olympics, these are the best of the best and we have the opportunity to race these guys. You don't notice it until you really recognize them, but you know they're coming, and then you walk by them and you see them and you think, "Wow, that guy holds the American record." So you get on the block and try not to be intimidated and try to stick with them as much as you can. But it's sort of a humbling experience.
MM: How does that feel to be recognized by the Big West?
SQ: It was really surprised when I heard from Coach, and it makes me feel good. The way he works, he's hilarious, it's so hard to read him. One day he might be jovial like a little kid and the next he's really serious. But he's still able to have fun. Before practice, he walked up and asked if everybody is here and said, "One announcement before practice. Stephen Quinn is the Big West Athlete of the Week. Ok off to warm up." It's awesome all the hard work that I've been putting in this year has been paying off.
MM: What classes are you taking as a senior?
SQ: This semester I'm taking Pacific Seminar 3, Product Innovation, Strategic Management & Policy and International Marketing. I'm majoring in business with a concentration in marketing.
MM: Imagine it's May and you have your degree, what do you hope to do next?
SQ: I've been looking at internship opportunities this summer with Under Armour, Nike and Adidas. I just emailed a career adviser in the business department to get my resume sent off because the application process for those just started. I want to do sports marketing or a sales-type internship. That would be really awesome. With Adidas, I'd possibly have the opportunity to go to Germany and work at their headquarters, but I'd have to renew my [German] passport first. I came to the United States when I was one and a half, but I learned German as my first language. So I'm really excited about that, but after the summer, I'm planning on staying in school and getting a master's. People joke around and say I'd be a good coach because of how I interact with people, but right away I don't want to coach. I want to get away a little bit. If I get my graduate degree here, I would want to help with the team and give back for all it's done for me.
MM: Do you have any advice for the underclassmen who will succeed you in the future?
The easiest way to be a leader on the deck and in the pool is to lead by example, if its showing that even though you're broken down you can go fast and inspire that way. It's important to light a fire under someone's butt, saying, "Lets get this together you can do it." It only gets easier as the years go on, mentally, you know what you've done and what you have to do.