Q&A: Teamwork motivates rookie swimmer
Laura Laderoute has had an impressive start to her collegiate swimming career. In her first meet at the North Texas Relays, she set a school record in the 100 individual medley and ended with three podium finishes. Going into the American Athletic Conference Championships, Laderoute has three individual wins.
Her success didn’t begin in Houston, but back in her home state of Oregon where she swam top-10 in the nation in the 200-medley relay and was the individual state champion in the 200 individual medley in 2014.
The Cougar caught up with Laderoute to discuss her exciting rookie season.
The Cougar: What brought you down to Houston from Oregon?
Laura Laderoute: I was recruited, and I just got along with this team the most out of the other teams that I visited. I also really thought Coach Hannah (Burandt) and Ryan (Wochomurka) would help me reach my individual goals.
TC: What was it about your coaches that made you believe they’d help you reach those goals?
LL: Ryan’s background; I knew he was a good coach. I got along really well with Hannah. She’s a good people person. Ryan told me that he was here to stay and said he would do anything that I needed to help me out whatever way he can.
TC: You have lived in Canada, Oregon and now in Houston. How has the culture change and chance in the city affected you?
LL: It’s really hot here. I did not expect that. But it’s not too bad because I’m either inside or in the pool all day. In Oregon, there’s a lot of hiking and stuff to do there, but not really here.
TC: You were very successful in high school. Was there any pressure for you to perform at UH?
LL: No. I knew in my mind that this was a good place for me. I knew I’d be successful here. I didn’t expect to be successful right away, but I knew it was going to happen.
TC: You started off your first collegiate school meet at the North Texas Relays with a school record in the 100 IM and three podium finishes. Were you expecting to have such a strong showing right out the gate?
LL: No, I was not. Especially because they were training us so hard. I was not used to the weight lifting, and all the running we were doing. It was just so different from what I was doing on club (swim team), and I was tired all the time. I felt beaten down, but it obviously made me stronger.
TC: How did you feel being so successful at your first meet?
LL: It felt really good just because I wasn’t expecting it. To see already that early on the work I put in was paying off, it got me excited for conference when I’ve done even more work, and I’ll be tapered and rested.
TC: What’s something the coaches have helped you with to propel you forward and make sure you’re continuing to improve?
LL: It’s just the training aspect of it all, just how it’s so different. It’s a lot more work. Also, the team really helped me out how they’re all working for each other. I was on a small club team, so there weren’t a lot of people.
TC: What’s been your motivation going into each meet?
LL: I’ve put in the work, so I just need to trust that I’ll be successful because of it, and also going into conference and thinking about the whole team. I don’t want to let them down.
TC: The AAC Championships are coming up. Are you going to prepare for it differently or is it just another competition?
LL: We’re starting taper now. It’s going to be experimental because I’ve never tapered with Ryan before, so it’ll be different from what I did on club, but I feel good about what he’s done so far, so I trust whatever he’s going to have me do.
TC: What are your expectations going into the AAC Championships?
LL: I just want to end the beat knowing that it was the best I could do. I have a lot of individual goals that I’m looking to get here, but if I don’t I’m okay with just moving on and doing it next year. I just hope as a team we perform well.
TC: What are some of those individual goals?
LL: 200 IM, I want to go under two minutes. I would like to podium in the 100 backstroke. Also, improve on my time in the 200 backstroke.
TC: What moment this season stands out the most for you?
LL: I have two.
First one is the retreat we had at the beginning of the year. Just because it was all so new, and it just made me more confident that I had chosen the right place. It was a night we got to know everybody really well. I fell in love with the team aspect everyone had.
And Phil Hansel, it was the meet we rested for, and everyone did well, and the team environment was so awesome. Everyone was hyped up for everyone. Someone did well, everyone else is excited for them. It’s just a good team.