Eva Fabian ’16 was not deterred when the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships were moved from the Gold Coast of Australia to Maui, Hawaii and postponed until one week after she was originally scheduled to compete.
Last Sunday, Aug. 31, in a competition featuring the top swimmers from nations including the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia, Fabian finished second in the 10K open water race with a time of 1:59:51.00. She completed the course just one second behind fellow American competitor and champion Haley Anderson, the Olympic silver medalist in the same event in London 2012.
“I love representing the U.S.,” Fabian said. “It’s an honor, and it’s difficult to make the national team so it’s a really big accomplishment.”
Qualifying for the event and earning a spot on the national team with a third-place finish at the U.S. Open Water National Championships in June, Fabian refocused her training after the college season with an eye towards the Pan Pacific Championships. Over the summer, Fabian said, she included more long distance work in her training and swam in a lake.
Fabian, who swims the one-mile, 1000-yard and 500-yard freestyle events for Yale, noted that the 10K race poses unique challenges because it is significantly longer and in an open-water environment.
“There are a lot of similarities [between swimming the open-water 10K and her other events], but there are a lot of specific tactical things that we need to work on too,” Fabian said.
She added that she uses a different breathing strategy and pointed out that the turns are different in open-water swimming. Teammate Michelle Chintanaphol ’17 added that when the original date and location was changed, it affected a swimmers’ tapering schedules.
This year, Fabian will be training for both the 10K and her usual distances simultaneously as the process for making the Olympic team begins. Fabian said she will need to place in the top two at the National trials in 2015 as well as in the top 10 at the World Championships in order to make the U.S. Olympic team.
This was not Fabian’s first time competing on the international stage. She previously won bronze in the 25K at the 2013 Fédération Internationale de Natation World Championships. Prior to her most recent experiences, she also finished third in the 10K at U.S. Open Water Nationals in 2013.
Having spent time on the national team, Fabian noted that she has become familiar with swimmers on other nations’ teams.
“It’s like a family, and we get to know each other over the course of a lot of World Cup races throughout the year and Worlds,” Fabian said. “It’s fun to know your competitors and be friends with them outside of the water.”
For now, Fabian has returned to the East Coast to resume training for Yale, but she said she looks fondly upon her time at the Pan Pacific Championships, especially the time she got to hold a koala in Australia.
Although Fabian competes around the globe, she is still an integral part of the team here at Yale. Teammate and fellow distance swimmer Casey Lincoln ’16 said that the team, specifically the distance swimmers, join Fabian for extra yards in the pool, complete special dry land workouts with her, and also go with her for extra morning practices.
“Eva is a relentless and intense trainer, but she always keeps the mood at practices light and fun,” Lincoln said. “She’s motivating, positive, and enthusiastic both in and out of the pool.”
Yale returns to the pool with a scrimmage at the UConn Invite on Oct. 18 before the Elis have their first meet against Southern Connecticut State University at home on Nov. 7.