Mason Swimmer Headed to Nationals

Posted: July 25, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By David Driver

Tom Koucheravy was a four-year letterman swimmer at Robinson High School in Fairfax. He even won the “Gatorade Will to Win” award as a senior, yet he was not recruited by many colleges.

In fact, Mason’s swimming program was the only one that contacted him. But that doesn’t seem very important these days. After all, he’s heading to the national championships at the end of this month.

It looks like Kouchevery’s club coach, Victor Abrahamian of Sea Devil Swimming, had good instincts all along. While other colleges overlooked Koucheravy, Abrahamian had faith in the young swimmer and urged Patriot coach Peter Ward to contact him.

“My club coach went to Ward and told him about me. It was at a meet here at Mason,” says Koucheravy. “I didn’t really know what a good swimming college was at all. My club coach just told me, there is where I should go, it’s close to home, it’s a good school, they have a very nice pool and the coach knows what he is doing. I think Abrahamian gave me some good advice.”

He adds, “My original plan was to go to Northern Virginia Community College for a year, train and apply to (four-year) colleges,” says Koucheravy. “I really wasn’t that great (as a swimmer) coming out of high school.”

Maybe so, but Koucheravy completed his Mason career last semester as the three-time Swimmer of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). He was just the second CAA swimmer to pull off that feat, and the first since Randy Parker of James Madison from 1986-88.

Koucheravy, in addition, was named Mason’s Dr. Frank Pettrone Male Student-Athlete of the Year at the annual student-athlete awards banquet last May.

His sights are now set on the 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships, which will be held July 31 to Aug. 4 in Indianapolis. Kate Ziegler, a Mason freshman last year and a world record holder, is also expected to compete. Ziegler does not swim for Mason because of her professional status.

This will be the fourth trip to nationals for Koucheravy, who also plans to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials next year in Omaha, Neb.

So how did Koucheravy go from unknown prep swimmer to CAA champion? The answer, for the most part, is hard work.

“A lot of people,” says Koucheravy, “their biggest downfall is they take really long breaks or they do less work in the off-season. I didn’t take a lot of breaks.”

He adds, “I really don’t like to lose in practice, for the most part. Most people think they deserve a break. I like going to the pool. If I am going to get up at 6 a.m., I might as well be productive.”

Koucheravy normally practices twice a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and once on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each session takes 90 minutes to two hours. He works out with a medicine ball and also runs. He also trains on Saturdays, with Sunday as his only day off.

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