Sept. 11, 2009
By Kaelie Baer, UCLABruins.com Contributor
Yasi Jahanshahi from the swimming team is the featured athlete in UCLABruins.com's Summer Spotlight. Jahanshahi is a sophomore from Huntington Beach, CA who competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in both the 100 fly and the 200 fly. She had a successful freshman campaign at UCLA, winning three events at the UCI/Ayres Invitational and being voted the team's Most Outstanding Freshman.
Q: What was the most memorable thing you did this summer?
A: When I went to Nationals in Washington, I got to visit my teammate Isabel Williams. She lives on Bainbridge Island, and I got to take the ferry to her house and visit her for a day. I also got to go to Mercer Island with the team. Both islands are so beautiful! I was lucky to be able to see so much of Washington during nationals!
Q: How did it go at Nationals this summer?
A: I swam three events and got best times on two of the events. I was happy, and the team did really well!
Q: You competed in the Olympic Trials before coming to school. What was that experience like?
A: It was a great experience. It felt great to be among the best swimmers in the world, and I felt like I belonged there.
Q: How do you feel about the team's performance last season, and what are your expectations for this upcoming year?
A: We started off the season strong, and training was great. We went to Texas in December, and I'm pretty sure everyone got a personal best time! I am so excited for this upcoming year. We have one of the best incoming freshman classes in the nation. Training was harder than ever this spring and summer, so I'm confident for this year to come!
Q: Do you have any pre-meet rituals?
A: My teammate Isabel Williams and I usually get together before meets. We stretch, roll out and talk about what we want to accomplish in the meet. We trust each other and are really good at inspiring each other!
Q: What was your most memorable moment in the pool?
A: One day Kim Vandenberg (a 2008 Bruin Olympian) came to work out with us. We had to do a really hard 100 fly set, and I was in the lane next to her. I remember diving in the water and being so sore from morning practice, and it was one of those days I felt like I couldn't get my arms out of the water. I started out the set a little shaky, but then I ended up forgetting about the pain, and it was one of my best sets all year.
Q: Why did you decide to attend UCLA?
A: When I went on my recruiting trip, I knew it was the right school for me. The swim team is great, the academics are amazing, it's a beautiful school, and it's the perfect distance from home!
Q: How does collegiate swimming differ from high school?
A: I have a supportive team now. In high school, I trained with my club team and rarely saw the high school team. I went to the meets and just represented the team, but I didn't even know all the swimmers on the team. Now I have a family that all works towards the same goals and is really supportive. Our coach Cyndi Gallagher makes the team feel like a family; that's one of the main reasons I chose UCLA over other schools!
Q: Describe your emotions right before your first meet this past year.
A: My first meet was the Blue vs. Gold meet. It's a little meet, but I was so nervous!!! I was so excited to finally swim for the Bruins, and I used the excitement and swam pretty fast.
Q: What is the best thing about being a Bruin?
Q: Which member of your team would you like to trade places with for a day and why?
A: Isabell Fischer. She's the tallest on the team (6-1) and absolutely beautiful!! She's from Germany and fun to be around.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not in the pool?
A: I like to go to other sports competitions, socialize and eat!
Q: List three words that describe you.
A: Smiley, determined, honest
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A: Be a pediatrician
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Persian food!
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in LA?
A: Spend time with my friends at UCLA!
Q: Name something you can't live without ...
A: My family
Q: What is your can't-miss TV show?
A: The OC (when it was on).