Princeton’s Callie Metsala has been working to get to this point for years. Countless hours in the pool are finally resulting in what the Tigers’ junior has dreamt of. With Metsala off to a historic start in the pool, the Union-Times was able to catch up with Metsala for a Q&A with the member of the Princeton swim and diving team.
With your great start to the season, did you foresee these multiple record breaking performances or are even you surprised by what you are doing?
I had these records on my mind for many years. Every time I swam in the Princeton pool I looked up at the record board and dreamed of having my name up there.
Having your name be tied to historic performances for the 100 Butterfly, 100 Breaststroke, 200 Freestyle, and 200 Individual Medley for Princeton swimming, what does that accomplishment mean to you? What are the current record times that you hold for the four events?
I have wanted some of those records since I was about eight and just learning to swim. It is a good feeling to watch my hard work and sacrifice pay off. These are the records I broke this year: 100 butterfly (59.33) 100 breaststroke (1:09.71), 200 freestyle (2:00.35) and 200 Individual medley (2:17.2).
What did your offseason training look like? I know there had to be countless hours poured in the pool and outside it.
I swim year around and during the off season I swim seven to eight practices a week, before and after school. I also do weight training and put in dry land work.
What do you think was your biggest motivating factor to push yourself to the heights you have already reached this season?
Initially my natural talent for swimming gave me some success but it quickly came apparent that I needed to work harder if I wanted to reach my goals. My dream has always been to get a scholarship to swim in college.
Who has helped you the most in your swimming career to this point? What did they do/say that has resonated with you?
I’ve had many coaches and teammates over the years that have all played a part in my success. My club swim coach Rory has played a huge role in making me into the swimmer I am today. He has high expectations and gets me to believe in myself and my abilities. My parents have provided me with the opportunities to achieve my goals and they are my biggest supporters. They have been there for me every step of the way. They always push and encourage me be the best version of myself. Without them I wouldn’t be at the level I’m at.
Which of the 100 Butterfly, 100 Breaststroke, 200 Freestyle, and 200 Individual Medley is your favorite to compete in? What makes it your preferred race? Which do you think you have the chance to improve in the most and which is your strongest?
My favorite and strongest event is the 100 yard butterfly. The butterfly came very naturally to me. The 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke are my top events, but I strive to be good at every event. Every event has unique challenges and there is always room for improvement.
What does an average meet day look like for you? Any favorite rituals you like to do before hopping into the pool to race?
I try to get extra sleep and visualize success in each race. It’s important to be mentally strong and confident in myself. I pray for strength and have gratitude for all the opportunities. I stay positive and try to build up my teammates as a co-captain and leader. I have rituals and routines that calm my nerves and allow me to focus on the races.
Are you concerned with possibly peaking too early? Or do you feel like you still have a lot of improvement to make before that even becomes a worry?
I had a couple of years where I plateaued and that was frustrating. I made a conscious decision that I was going to work even harder in the pool and outside of it. My coaches reassured me that I would eventually drop times if I put in the work. This year’s success is the culmination and validates all of my sacrifices.
With all of these recording breaking performances as a junior, are you already hearing from colleges that want you to come swim for them?
My main goal is being able to continue to swim in college. As a junior I am so excited to finally be able to be in contact with college coaches. I am looking for a good fit with swimming, but also academically.
Before you depart from Princeton for college, what do you hope to accomplish this season and next? What has to go right for you to follow through on those goals?
This season I have achieved some of my goals, but then I set new goals. It is important to set goals, but then you need to make a plan to achieve those goals. Because a goal without a plan is a dream and daydreams seldom bring results. So this season would like to be the girls section champion in both of my individual events. I would also love to place top eight at the state competition. I would love to be committed to a college before my senior season ends. I want to finish off my high school career with as many records and wins as possible. I hope to achieve All American for swimming as well as National honor society for my academics by the time I graduate. I hope to motivate and inspire young swimmers to show them hard work pays off.