CHICAGO – Nadia Redza knows a little bit about pressure.
The University of Chicago soon-to-be junior swimmer has been competing on big stages way before her time in Myers-McLoraine Pool – or even the NCAA Division III Championships, where she’s already a two-time All-American.
So, competing in this month’s 30th Summer World University Games, in Naples, Italy, should be no sweat, right?
“My expectations for these games, is honestly just have fun,” said Redza, who will represent her home country of Malaysia for the eighth time in major international competition with her two events, the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys.
Redza more than deserves a little fun. The economics major (she’s specializing in business economics) hasn’t stopped training since her second-straight NCAA Championships appearance in March, when most of her teammates take a break and concentrate on other interests.
“Training alone, as well as juggling it with second-year spring has been very challenging,” she noted, referring to her daily training sessions with UChicago Head Coach Jason Weber.
“What Nadia has done this offseason, as well as last offseason, is extremely difficult to do,” Weber said of her additional training. “Even with a coach there most practices to guide and motivate her, you cannot underestimate how impactful having a team around you can be. Nadia doesn’t have her teammates there to push her, motivate her, and support her through tough sets.
“She’s showing up every day with the same drive and determination as the day before and you have to have a high level of intrinsic motivation to train alone for months and maintain such a high level of performance. There are very few people on our team that would be able to do what she’s doing day in and out, alone.”
Seeing a few of her teammates competing on their own – just to stay in swimming shape and improve – in the offseason has helped her stay motivated, though she also credits her swimming “type” as proving extremely helpful.
“I’m also the type of swimmer that I can easily train by myself – I just try to focus on what I need to concentrate on during a certain set or interval, because that what helps me. I know a lot of swimmers are different, but that’s what helps me, so it’s definitely easier to train alone sometimes,” she added.
The action in Naples kicks off with the Opening Ceremonies on July 3. Redza will compete in her prelim events on the 4th (400) and 6th (200), in a highly competitive field that likely includes swimmers training for the upcoming FINA World Championships.
A member of the Malaysia national team since she was 13, Redza – who grew up with her family in Kuala Lumpur – said despite the stiff competition, her experience in international events has her used to any pressure she might feel.