By Stephanie Martin
Sun Star Intern
Weekday mornings before 5:30 a.m., Courtney Miller and Mariya Pavlovskya rise and hit the Patty Center Pool. This is the first of double practices for the two swim team captains. Nanook swimming is the only athletic team to practice twice a day, according to Miller.
“You get up because you know you have to be there, there are 14 other girls counting on you. It’s hard, but it’s nice to know we’re in it together,” Miller said of the early practices.
Miller was born in Vancouver, Washington. She doesn’t remember her first time swimming, but she does remember graduating from swim lessons in the fourth grade. Her family enrolled her in the lessons because they felt learning how to swim was important. The water was true love for Miller. She swam throughout middle school and high school. Breaststroke and individual medley are Miller’s events. In the individual medley event, swimmers perform an equal distance of each stroke. Miller’s favorite stroke is the breaststroke. Her best time in the 200m breaststroke event is 2:37.5.
Before meets, Miller likes to sit by herself and listen to music. “Super Massive Black Hole” by Muse gets her pumped for events. She describes herself as a calm and competitive person.
“I love sports and the fact that anyone can participate,” Miller said. “I love to watch people succeed. Succeeding myself and seeing hard work pay off is also rewarding.”
As a team, their goal is to have the highest GPA in the athletic department. They also hope to move into the top five in the conference, according to Miller.
Co-captain Mariya Pavlovskya chose UAF because of the experiences it offered compared to the rest of the United States. “Moving to Alaska was challenging because I was very homesick at first, but over time I fell in love with Fairbanks and the amazing people here,” Pavlovskya said.
Pavlovskya was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan where she lived until the age of 10. Currently, her family lives in Moscow. Now instead of being homesick for Moscow, Pavlovskya says she longs for UAF over summer break.
“My favorite thing about swimming is the feeling of gliding through the water and being able to concentrate on the strokes you take, and not think about anything else,” Pavlovskya said.
When she is not swimming, Pavlovskya enjoys cooking and reading. Rock music is her favorite, and Maroon 5, Queen and Ratatat are some of her favorite bands.
Pavlovskya said the team hopes to beat their own personal records, set new ones, and take as many teammates as possible to the NCAA Nationals. The team also hopes to “just stay healthy and have fun,” Pavlovskya said.