Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Walden’s Laid Back Style Has Him Stroking to the Top

Name: Heath Walden

Sport: Swimming and Diving

Position: Team Captain

Hometown: Scituate, Mass.

High School: Boston College High School

School/Year: COL ’06

Major: Computer Science

Minor: Biology & Psychology

HS Highlights: 2000-02: Varsity letter-winner, Catholic Conference All-Star; 2001-2002: YMCA National All-American

GU Highlights: 2005: GU 100-yard backstroke record; 2005-06: Big East qualifier, team captain

When did you first start swimming? Competitively? At age eight. I have always loved being in the water. My parents put me in the water when I was under a year old. I have only seen pictures, but there is one of my mom in the pool with me in floaties and she is carrying me around the pool. That is my earliest memory of swimming.

What was the best moment in your career so far? Last year, when I broke the team 100-yard backstroke record. It was only the beginning of the meet, so I still had two events to swim that weekend. I was pretty happy. I was walking around with a huge smile for the rest of the day. For the rest of the meet, it didn’t matter if I was good or bad, I had swum my best.

Best moment of you year so far?

Qualifying for [the] Big East [championships]. It was just a relief. My best time was under the cut time, but I just finally had to do it.

Who’s your biggest rival? On the team, it’s probably Don Ball (MSB ’06). We compete in a lot of things. This year in the pool it has been David Ballinger (MSB ’09). We practice together a lot and are the only two guys doing butterfly practice so the atmosphere has just developed.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have had to make for swimming? Early mornings . sleep . class schedule. You try to schedule it so you can come here for practice. I have two classes total right now, and I still have to come two days in the morning. Social life a little too, when you have a meet early on Saturday morning all you want to do Friday night is sleep.

What is your best event? 100-yard backstroke.

Who on the team do you rely on the most? My girlfriend, Liz Nugent (COL ’07). I met her when I was a sophomore and she was a freshman on the team, and I rely on her when I get down.

What do you do to get psyched for a meet? I go through a certain stretch routine before every race. I listen to a certain song on my iPod (“Get Loose” by the Salads). I just stay loose, and stay energized. I want to keep the positivism up before the race.

If you could be great at any other sport or event besides swimming, what would it be? Why? Basketball. They get the most respect of any sport at the school . and I would be part of the team that beat Duke!

What is your biggest fear in or out of the pool? Failing. When I set goals for myself, I like to achieve them; I am pretty hard on myself. If I do badly at a regular dual meet, I get pretty upset. But, if it is the end of the season and I don’t meet my goal, I get pretty hard on myself.

If you could change one thing about swimming, what would it be and why? Probably the smell of chlorine after swimming. It dries up your skin, and you get all itchy . it’s probably that.

Favorite way to relax? Watch a movie, and just sit around. I like to hang around with my friends a lot of the time I can be found watching TV with Liz and my housemates.

If you could be anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I have to say here. I really have nowhere else I want to go. I love Georgetown and I do not want to be anywhere else at the moment.

Best childhood memory? Probably swim meets when I was little. A lot of my friends swim too. I would swim in the morning, and my sister would swim in the evening, so I would sit around with my friends when I really didn’t have anything to do.

What would someone find under your bed? A couple of empty gym bags and some swim suits.

Biggest pet peeve? Probably leaving dishes in the sink.

What was the last song you listed to on your iPod? “Sugar Going Down” by Fallout Boy.

Most embarrassing moment? Probably the beginning of this year when we were introducing all the freshmen to the senior class. I had a few embarrassing stories told about me.

Freshman dorm? Harbin. I liked the set up and all the kids on my floor. I still live with roommate from freshman year (Jon Hayden, COL ’06). We didn’t get along a lot at the end of freshman year. But the next year, we realized it was pretty good living together. So we lived together last year and this year with a bunch of other swimmers too.

Who’s your biggest inspiration? Probably my parents. They’ve worked hard their entire lives to give me the opportunities I have for me and my sister. They gave me good lessons and good morals.

What one word people use to describe you? Entertaining.

What one word you use to describe you? Energetic.

What made you choose Georgetown for college? I made a decision in the last moment actually. I was leaning back and forth on all the schools I was accepted to. So I came to visit the team in April, and it was just the atmosphere of the school that I really liked.

Favorite TV show? “24”.

Favorite movie? Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or anything with Vin Diesel or Chuck Norris, like Dodgeball or Sidekick.

Favorite Georgetown restaurant? Paolo’s. I change my order a lot but it was where I had my first date with my girlfriend.

Laptop or desktop? Laptop, Apple iBook.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Out of med school, working on my residency, hopefully paying off loans. Just get through.

Any advice for people who want to join swimming? Come in with a good attitude. Try hard and you’ll be able to succeed. Just a good work ethic.

The thing you miss the most about home? Probably just sitting around and watching TV with my parents in my living room.

Anything you want to do before you graduate? My roommates and I have always talked about trying to steal the Healy Clock Tower hands.

Booey’s or Wisey’s? Wisey’s. I am a huge chicken madness fan and for me nothing is better than the breakfast special. Also, I do not like the hard rolls at Booey’s.

– Interview and photo by Pasha C. Chandra

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