Freshman Nika Blank has been a major key to our women’s success. In her first semester with Florida State, she smashed her personal bests in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events (22.50 and 50.24 respectively). After only one semester of college swimming, she ranks fourth all-time at FSU in the 50-yard freestyle. She also helped the Seminoles set a new school record in the 200 free relay at the Georgia Invite in addition to an NCAA automatic time standard.
I conversed with Nika, over a nice kale caesar salad, to learn more about this up and coming FSU sprinting star.
Q: When and why did you start swimming competitively?
Blank: I started swimming competitively when I was eight years old after trying a bunch of stuff like dancing, karate, gymnastics and ice skating. I remember being so embarrassed in the second grade because I was the only one in my class that didn’t know how to swim. So I took it a step further, started racing and never looked back.
Q: What has been the biggest difference between high school and college swimming?
Blank: I’d have to say the biggest difference is that you have to be self-disciplined. In college no one holds your hand and tells you what to do, so when you show up to practice or a meet its because you want to be there- for yourself and for your teammates. You’re constantly pushing yourself even when it sucks, but I think learning that has helped me grow the most as an athlete.
Q: What are some of your interests outside of the pool?
Blank: I love spending time outside. Whenever I have the time to I try to go on walks, hike, or really just sit outside and read. Time kind of slows down and its really freeing.
Q: What’s your major and why did you choose it?
Blank: I am majoring in environmental science. I chose to study the environment and its connection with people because in my opinion it’s the most powerful and the most threatened relationship in today’s society. It’s something I’m really passionate about and moving forward I want to make a difference to protect something I love.
Q: What’s your favorite memory from your swimming career thus far?
Blank: My favorite memory has to be winning my first gold medal. I was 10 and I told my coach to sign me up for the 200 fly because I knew no other ten year old in their right mind wanted to swim it. I swam in a heat with the older age group, barely finished the race legally, got myself a gold medal and set the team record in the process by being the only one to ever swim it.
Q: I’ve seen your dance skills at meets this season. What are some of your go to pump up songs?
Blank: My top three would have to be: Dreaming by Smallpools, Yonkers by Tyler the Creator, and Boyz-n-the-Hood by Eazy-E.
Q: If you win the lottery tomorrow and have to do one job, without pay, for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
Blank: I’d probably volunteer- SAVE THE PLANET #amiright?
Q: If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?
Blank: Probably Honey Bunches of Oats- they’re classic, a little sweet and you never really know what you’re gonna get in each bite.