By Eli Weiner (LACIS Social Media/Outreach Intern, BBA – Marketing, BA – LACIS, ’16)
Throughout the year, Israel Pechstein of the Brazil Initiative had heard one of his Portuguese students talk about “going to the Olympics.” He thought it sounded fun, until he finally found out this actually meant “participating in the Olympics!” The student is Matt Hutchins, and he will indeed be competing in the Olympics for Team New Zealand. We caught up with Matt to learn about this amazing accomplishment and to see how his Portuguese will help him in this unique opportunity.
So Matt, what are you studying here?
I’m a junior in school here and I am a history major because I find it the most interesting.
How long have you been swimming? At what point did it become a real passion of yours?
I’ve been swimming for a while now, I think I started swimming competitively when I was about 10-11 but I didn’t begin to take it seriously until I was about 14. I think I was 15 when I stopped playing other sports and really focused on just swimming.
How did you qualify for the Rio Olympics?!
Qualifying for the games this year was a little crazy. So my trials meet in New Zealand was the same week as our NCAA nationals here (in the U.S.) so I couldn’t do both. Luckily Swimming NZ let a group of US-based swimmers go qualify at the Canadian trials a bit later. So I went up to Canada and there it was the same as their (NZ) meets. I had to swim my races and each race has a set time standard so as I met that criteria, I made the New Zealand team.
What has been your biggest obstacle in qualifying?