Q&A with Olympian Kylie Masse
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On Monday, Aug. 8, U of T student Kylie Masse won a bronze medal in the women’s 100-metre backstroke at the Olympic Aquatics Centre in Rio de Janeiro. This past week, the newspaper caught up with Masse about her win, the Olympics, and the wonders of her registrar.
What kind of courses are you taking at U of T and how has being an Olympian impacted your life at U of T?
I’m in second year doing a Kinesiology degree. I did a reduced course load last year to focus on swimming so I’m a little bit behind in doing my degree. It’s been kind of a jumble trying to organize it, but my registrar has been amazing in helping me balance academics and athletics.
What about the group dynamics regarding nationalities and social cliques?
Each sport runs differently in the two weeks of the Olympics. When some people aren’t competing, others are and vice versa. Athletes are focused on their performance during the time they are competing; you can see that and you have a schedule and a routine. There’s no time to do anything else. But after your performance, you make friends and everyone is super nice.
How did you feel after the race? Did you think you’d get the medal?
Honestly, at the time, the race was a blur! I was so overcome with so many emotions, I was so happy. I was doing some interviews after—I was so emotional. I knew it was going to be such a close race. I knew coming into the pool that I had a goal of doing my best, I wanted to make the finals, and I just thought to focus on myself because you can’t control what anyone else does. I focused on having fun.
Why the backstroke?
I haven’t always been a backstroker. In the early years, I enjoyed doing the butterfly more—I could never do breaststrokes, never can. Not my forte. I guess at the games in South Korea last summer, I did backstroke there, and I thought to myself that backstroke would be a great idea. I focused more on backstroke there.
What is your impression of Rio?
We didn’t have time to go see [anything] while we were competing, but after that we checked out a lot of places. I got to see Christ the Redeemer, which was awesome! The venues are so safe and there’s a lot of security and police officers all the time. There are tourist times outside our Olympic Village, but the Canadian Olympic Committee told us all of the precautions to be safe, so with the help of them and their guidance, it’s been fantastic.
How did course selection go and what are your plans for this school year?
It was a bit difficult, because as I said, I’m on the fence of which year I’m in. I’m still going to take some second year courses that are mandatory for some third year courses. It took some time to figure some of it out, but I was lucky to have met with my registrar before I left—they helped me a lot. I had to write some emails and write a couple of petitions to get into a few classes, but honestly, I’ve just been focusing on my performance right now and I’ve just been trying to enjoy the Olympics.
I’ll be swimming for the Varsity Blues this year and I’m so excited to go back to school and be back on my team. It’s been four months since the summer since I’ve seen them. I’ll be swimming in Toronto and I’ll take up some more international competitions.
Anyone can attend our competitions against other competitions, so people can definitely come watch our team at U of T and come cheer us on!comments powered by Disqus