Matsumoto ’16 breaks school record in 400m individual medley

Junior becomes first Bruno Ivy Championship winner in 200m butterfly since 2002

Contributing Writer
Friday, February 27, 2015

Gina Matsumoto ’16 is setting the pool on fire: The junior has rewritten the Brown record book in the 200-meter butterfly and the 400-meter individual medley and hopes to help the Bears to a better Ivy finish next year.

After 17 years, a new name will be slotted into the record book for the 400-meter individual medley. Gina Matsumoto ’16 shattered a school record by nearly two-tenths of a second with a time of 4:18.91 last weekend at the Ivy League Championships.

But the swimmer did not stop there, diving back into the pool for the 200-meter butterfly. With a time of 1:58.61, the junior captain took home the race title. No Brown swimmer had won the race at Ivy Championships since 2002. The women’s swimming and diving team finished in sixth place.

For her impressive wins at the Ivy League Championships, Matsumoto has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: How do you pace yourself during the individual medley?

Matsumoto: It kind of goes with the training. This was my first year training for the 400 IM. The practices were really hard. You have to be strong and mentally tough to keep going as fast as you can throughout the race’s entirety. You can’t get freaked out and wonder how much time is left in the race.

You finished sixth in the Ivy League Championships. How is this reflective of your team’s goals this season?

We are still hungry to do better. I think we have come a long way from last year. We were only three points from fifth place, which is awesome. One of the sophomore girls made a comment to us about how we should be proud about what our team has done this year and how hard we have worked. We have come a long way in just one year from fighting for sixth place to fighting for fifth place this year, so that was very exciting. We are all pretty happy about how it all worked out.

What are the team’s goals for next season?

Collectively as a team, we want to move up in the Ivy League. We want to get fifth place. Our longstanding goal is to keep moving forward, getting stronger and faster. We are a great team. We get along really well and love each other. We are looking toward fifth place and having more great swims.

What has been the most memorable moment in your career?

Saturday morning prelims, when I first broke two minutes in the 200 meter fly. I have been working toward that for a couple of years and my whole team knew. We made goals in the beginning of the season. Once you achieve your goal, everyone knows and everyone is happy for each other. My entire team was there cheering for me and congratulating me. It felt really special to have my teammates there.

Who has had the largest impact in your swimming career?

My club coach. I joined his club team when I was around 10, and I was there until I graduated high school. I trained with him for 10 years. He taught me and my other club team members how to stay mentally strong, because in swimming you have to be able to train for hours on end and stay focused at a big meet and not get psyched in your head. He has been with me throughout my college years. I talk to him every now and then. He always texts me “good luck” or “nice job.”

What is something about swimming that most people don’t know?

We wear these suits for our championship meets. They are called Fastskins. You get a swimsuit size three sizes smaller than you normally wear. You have to fit yourself into the suit. Most people don’t know how difficult it is to get those suits on. It might take 20 minutes, and you need your teammates to help you. One of the sophomores, Katie Roche ’17, was the real MVP of this weekend because she got everyone into their suit without ripping it.

— This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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