A senior from Venice, Calif., Andi Murez is a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA Champion on the women’s swimming and diving team. Murez competes in the freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, spending anywhere from 15 to 20 hours per week in the pool for the Cardinal. Heading into her final year on the Farm, Murez sat down with The Daily to talk all things swimming, Stanford and steam tunneling.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): How did you first get started in the pool? What was it that made you decide to start swimming competitively?
Andi Murez (Murez): My grandpa and my father both swam in high school and then my parents decided that both my older brother and I should start swimming. I was seven years old when we first did a junior lifeguard camp at the beach, and then at the end of the summer my dad asked one of the lifeguards if there was a local club team we could compete for.
TSD: What has been your favorite class at Stanford and why?
Murez: It was an IntroSem I took my freshman year called Diseased Based Approach to Physiology. The class was a 20-person seminar that was small and very engaging. I’m pre-med and interested in medicine, so it was very related to what I’m interested in. I also built a great relationship with the chief anesthesiologist of the Stanford Hospital and have continued that, which is pretty cool.
TSD: If you had to pick one place on campus to come back and visit after you graduate, where would it be?
Murez: The swimming pool, Avery Aquatic Center. Either that or the quad because it’s really pretty and there’s the front of MemChu.
TSD: Favorite sports moment of Stanford career?
Murez: Winning NCAAs in 400 free relay and breaking the American record. I don’t think any of us had the American record in mind, none of us were thinking about that, and so when they announced that we had also broken that record it was cool. But being part of a winning four-person team, that definitely contributed to the team aspect and that was awesome. Going back to the bench afterwards and having everyone who was there congratulate us was an amazing experience. And just bringing home a title was fun.
TSD: Most people miss a lot of different things about the Farm, but what will you miss the most about not putting on the uniform to swim for Stanford?
Murez: The team, definitely, and seeing the people I’ve made such great relationships at practice, and being able to compete with them.
TSD: Do you have goals being a senior and taking more of a leadership role going into your last year?
Murez: One of the things that our team has discussed has been making good decisions in every aspect of the year and of our lives. Whether its getting sleep, doing your schoolwork, recovering, practicing all the technique you need in the pool, pushing as hard at practice, or doing well at meets. I think that’s our main focus this year, and I definitely agree with it and want to help make sure we maintain it.
TSD: Swimming is an individual sport in the competition aspect, save for the relays. How do you balance the team and individual drive it takes to succeed?
Murez: As long as I’ve been on the Stanford team it’s been all about the team, and so it’s taking what I’ve known for so long about being in the water by myself, and transferring that to the team aspect and team mentality doing what I’ve always done.
TSD: If you could play one other sport besides swimming, what would it be and why?
Murez: There’s not one other sport really. I just wish I played multiple other sports as a kid. I mean definitely growing up all my friends played soccer and I never did. So any and all sports; my parents didn’t want me in a physical sport, and that’s also kind of why I swam because it’s easy on the body.
TSD: Is there any advice you would give to freshman just coming into the program?
Murez: Well I guess outside of swimming, take advantage of all the opportunities that you have. There’s so much going on on campus and it’s hard to do other things, but do as much as possible. Whether it’s hanging out with people in the dorm or going to see events that are going on, do as much as you can. And just have fun in swimming. If you focus and care about it, you’ll see results.
TSD: Favorite stroke?
Murez: 100 or 200 freestyle.
TSD: When you’re up on the blocks for the 100, what’s going through your mind?
Murez: Hopefully nothing. The best races are when you get of the pool and have no idea what just happened. Where you’re just totally in the moment and you’ve practiced everything and know exactly what you’re going to do regarding race plan and technique. Where you’re swimming your own race instead of focusing on where everyone else is in the race and you’re just controlling what you have the ability to control.
TSD: After school, do you plan to keep swimming or is this the end of the road in the pool?
Murez: I want to keep swimming, but I definitely want to go to medical school. And since I don’t really want to take off much time before all that schooling, so I’m not exactly sure what my plan is yet.
TSD: Thanks so much for sitting down to talk, Andi.
Murez: Of course, anytime.