Tiger Tales is a weekly piece highlighting a DePauw student-athlete. Athletic-intern Kaela Goodwin conducts the interviews.
Junior Annie Graves is a well-rounded member of not only the women's swimming and diving team but also the DePauw community.
Outside of swimming, Graves is involved in Relay for Life and campus Greek life. She also plans to use her Math major and Econ and Education Studies double minor after college to become a high school math teacher and swim coach.
Although Graves has been swimming since she was five years old, she never thought she'd be a collegiate athlete. However, she believes her decision to swim at DePauw was the best decision she's ever made.
Q: What's your favorite thing about DePauw?
A: I like all the opportunities it presents. I'm not pigeonholed into just swimming or just academics or just sorority stuff. I can take it all in and do everything all at once.
Q: What's your favorite thing about swimming at DePauw?
A: The people, for sure. We spend so much time with the team, men and women's. Those are my best friends, and I spend probably 90 percent of my time with them.
Q: Are there any individuals on the team that you specifically look up to?
A: Caroline Bridges. She's a year above me, and she's in my sorority. We've watched her go through so much, and she's still so strong and can be can be so encouraging to everyone else. I think it's really cool.
Q: What is your favorite memory of swimming at DePauw so far?
A: Last year in my 200 back at conference I got my Nationals cut for the first time. I was so dead tired, but there were so many people behind my lane to help me out. The whole team was cheering, and it's the last day of conference so you don't really want to be there but just having everyone there and excited just makes it so much more fun.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of swimming?
A: I'm in a sorority on campus [Pi Beta Phi], and I just found out that I'm the new president for my sorority. I'm a Relay for Life Chair, where I'm VP of Communications. Other than that, I like to watch Netflix. And sleep. More than the average person.
Q: What is one of your funniest athletic memories?
A: As bad as this sounds, two of the girls at DePauw my freshman year collided while swimming and both got concussions, which wasn't funny at the time but is funny now because . . . how do swimmers get concussions?
Q: Do you have any superstitions?
A: I don't really think so. I eat the same thing before meets every morning, but I think that's just because I know I won't get sick off of it.
Q: What do you eat?
A: A bagel and peanut butter.
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals?
A: Before every meet I always call my dad because he was my coach growing up so that calms me down. I also always listen to the same Kesha song, "Kiss N Tell."
Q: How does that help you compete?
A: It gets me excited. The same song every time gets me in the same mind-set every time. Not every race is as big as every other one but it kind of makes it so they're all the same in my head.
Q: What is something nobody at DePauw knows about you?
A: I quit swimming for volleyball when I was a freshman in high school. And I was 4'9" so I wasn't tall enough to play, so I had to go back to swimming.
Q: What is the best advice you've ever received?
A: My dad was here for Dad's Weekend, and he said that every time he plays golf, if he makes a ball mark he cleans up his ball mark and one other person's. He's not trying to do everything, but if everyone were to do their part and a tiny bit more then the world would be better. I'd never heard him say anything like that before, but a walk in the nature park I guess inspired some creative juices.
Q: As a junior, what do you wish you had known as a freshman student-athlete?
A: You need to have fun with it. Coming into college is kind of like a 'they're going to expect so much more from me' pressure thing, when in reality it's not your whole life, and it won't be your whole life. Reach out to other things too.
Q: What would you tell prospective students who were thinking about swimming at DePauw?
A: I would say that it's the best decision I've ever made in my entire life. When I was looking at colleges I didn't think I was going to swim. I actually quit swimming my senior year and thought I was done forever. I was enrolled in a different school and then the coach at DePauw called and said, "I really think you need to reconsider." It's for sure the best thing that's ever happened for me. The people, the coach, the time you get to spend having a goal to keep you preoccupied when you're also dealing with school and everything else. It's really important that you have something that you love and that you want to be doing.