Hopkins men’s swimming has had a fantastic season thus far, winning their last home meet 201.5-59.5. A standout member of the team is senior Max Chen. In his most recent meet, the Thomas Murphy Invitational, he was named the Male Swimmer of the Meet after placing first in both the 100 and 200 Breast. The News-Letter spoke with Chen about his thoughts on the achievement, the progress of the team and their hopes for the future.
The News-Letter: You’ve had a great couple of meets so far, winning all of your individual events against Towson [University] and [the College of] William and Mary. What was your mentality going into the Thomas Murphy Invitational?
Max Chen: I’m all about keeping the right mindset with anything I do, especially when it comes to competition. I think my optimal mentality is feeling confident and calm but not setting huge expectations. I know some people like to hype themselves up and set major goal times, but I like to be able to perform without the pressure of my own mind getting in the way. For the Thomas Murphy Invite, I just felt confident and ready to go. I also want to shout out the team too; there was a lot of great energy from everyone, and when everyone’s excited, it's easy to get in a good mood.
N-L: How do you feel getting recognized as the Male Swimmer of the Meet at the conclusion of the Invitational?
MC: It feels good to be recognized and I’m thankful for it, but I do want to say that there were plenty of other guys on the team that had great swims and stand out performances that are deserving of praise as well. On that note, there were some outstanding swims on the women’s team too — really a lot of great swims from everyone and I’m excited to see what we can do this season.
N-L: As a senior, reflecting on your past few years, how does this achievement fit into your experience as a member of the Hopkins swim team?
MC: I think it’s a nice addition to my accolades as a swimmer, but realistically this has been a long journey for me. I think it reflects the efforts that I’ve put into this season, but again there are plenty of guys that I think are deserving of praise as well.
N-L: After a pandemic impacted season last year, what were some of the ways you and the team bounced back?
MC: The pandemic really took a lot away from us swimmers. I feel like we were restricted the most training-wise as we have to train indoors, and we missed out on a lot of great things like NCAAs, training trips and meet vibes in general. Speaking for the seniors and juniors on the team, I think we realized that we can’t take what we have for granted and we’ve got to make the most of what we have. This season, we’ve been pushing ourselves to be the best that we can be, and that’s also rubbed off onto the younger guys on the team. The pandemic shaped us to be stronger and build a culture of success, which I hope continues to be strong when the older guys graduate.
N-L: As an individual, what are some of your short-term goals and long-term goals for this season?
MC: This is really both long and short term, but I just want to make the most of this season. I want to appreciate the time I have and the people around me as well. That’s not to say I don’t have swimming goals either — I’m still competitive and I’d like to win swims and go best times in my events, but I think I’d like to win with the team more. Whether that means breaking records on relays or winning dual meets or optimistically NCAAs, being on a team that is winning always feels better than winning alone.