KAIST is home to a no small number of swimming enthusiasts. On October 3, they were able to flaunt their smooth strokes and smash records as they participated in the fourth annual KAIST swim meet, organized by the school's very own swimming team, KAORI. The event appropriately brought together serious sportsmanship and amusement, with games in between the races to ease tension and provide entertainment. In this month's interview, Kangsan Kim takes us through his journey as the captain of the winning team.
Could you give us a brief self-introduction?
Hello my name is Kangsan Kim and I am a Nuclear and Quantum Engineering major. I came to KAIST in 2013 but joined KAORI in 2015.
First of all, congratulations on that team victory. What does it mean for you?
It's my third year in participating in the KAIST swim meet. The previous two swim meets were so much fun that I decided to come back for my third. This year though, as a member of Kaori, I had that yearning to desire to win, and I am delighted to have reached my goal. The process was made easier as we had a very cohesive team.
I've heard that each team can have up to 10 swimmers. What was the recruiting process like?
Yes that's correct. Of the 10 swimmers, we could have a maximum of three Kaori members. I have been begging my other '15 Kaori partner, Dayeon Kim, to participate in the team since the Kaori trials way back in March, regardless of who made it into the club. The other Kaori member is Juhee Park, a good friend of mine and an amazing swimmer, so I naturally brought him to the team. For the remaining 7 spots, I've been asking around people if they knew any swimmers, or we scouted people from the pool directly.
What kind of training regime did your team follow? Did teammates get to socialize outside of the pool?
Frankly speaking, this was a worrisome aspect because it was my first time training others. After the start of the fall semester, our team met twice a week for an hour. Basically our training consisted of a warm-up, a kick set, and a main set, and added any other relevant sets we could think of. Even within our team, people had different swimming experiences so it was hard to train in the same lane. Other than that, we've met once or twice outside the pool. I think as much as it is important for us to compete, the socializing aspect is a huge merit of the swim meet.
What was particularly hard in preparing for the swim meet?
There have been cases where recruited members had to inevitably leave the team. It hit me hard personally every time... In particular, the one of our last recruits burst his ankle ligaments days before the meet, and he had to drop out.
Your team broke a number of records in this year's meet. Could you tell me one individual and team event that you remember particularly?
The women's freestyle relay definitely, for the team event. In preparing for the event, we've changed the participants for that event and they performed significantly better than we expected, coming only one second after the meet record. In terms of individual events, I remember the women's individual medley race (a race where you swim butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle in succession), when Dayeon literally won by a split second. I clapped and cheered so hard that afterwards, my palms were all red.
Do you have a personal swimming philosophy or what you want to achieve in the sport?
Well, I do not think I have a swimming philosophy per se. But I do have a goal. I want to be that one person that everyone associates with backstroke. To be that backstroke ace, I need to come in at about 30 seconds for 50 meters. I'm a little worried as to how much grueling training I need to endure to do that!
Are there any comments you would like to add?
KAIST is not a huge school, but it amazes me to see so many competent swimmers. When I first heard that there was an intra-school swim meet it was eye-opening. I wish even more people can familiarize themselves with the sport through the free lessons given by Kaori or by these meets. Its truly a charming sport. And for those who are really into the sport, come and apply to Kaori!