Former Chelmsford High standout Jenny Day closed out her decorated WPI swimming career as the owner of 10 school records, seven individually and three as part of relay teams. Those records competing for WPI head coach Paul Bennett included marks in her favorite event, the 200-yard butterfly, as well as her least favorite, the mile freestyle race. Day will graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering May 12.
Q. What was your athletics highlight in high school?
A. Senior year I was a captain and we had a group of 12 seniors and we all made it to the state meet and we finally won a state championship. That was the biggest highlight. It was our best year overall and one of the best swim meets I’ve ever experienced. We had real high energy. It was honestly the best way to leave.
Q. When did you first swim?
A. I was four and I was really small and my bathing suit barely fit and the water was so cold. It was freezing and I wore a wetsuit to practice. I probably looked ridiculous. I was real small and trying to swim and not doing so well. My first real meet was when I was five. My sister, Lindsey, was on the team and I wanted to be like her, basically.
Q. What’s the best part of swim racing?
A. I definitely think the meets are the best part. The practices are always real tough and you’re out there going a long time between meets. Once you get to the meets and you see how you’ve improved so much and you can support your teammates and you’re in the meet atmosphere, that’s what I like the best. Especially the championship meets at the end of the season.
Q. What’s the worst part?
A. Sometimes in the middle of the season, you can get really down with training and morale gets low. That’s when the team is most important. You’re in the worst part of the year and you’re all tired and cold and it becomes more of a team bonding time. You’re going through something rough together and you know the end of the season is coming and you get through it.
Q. What’s your favorite event to race?
A. Probably the 200-yard butterfly. I think it’s the most fun of all the races. Coming into college I hadn’t swum it much and I was able to improve on it through four years and learn how to actually swim it and be able to pace it well and not die off at the end.
Q. Is the butterfly the most difficult race?
A. For most people it is. But everyone has a different opinion on that. The individual medley when you swim all four strokes is tough. The breaststroke can be hard and the backstroke can be hard, but I think most people agree butterfly is the hardest.
Q. What’s your least favorite race?
A. That would have to be the mile. It’s so much longer than every other race and it’s more of a mental race. You have a counter and you can see how much farther you have to go and the whole time it’s definitely a mental struggle. It’s 66 laps and when you see 33 on the counter that’s probably the worst because you think you just did all that and you still have to do it all over again. My best time is 17 minutes and 21 seconds and that’s a long time to try and pace yourself.
Q. What are your plans for after graduation?
A. I’m going to be working at Raytheon in Tewksbury. I got the job during the fall when I went to a hiring fair in Boston. I start there in July after we go on a quick family trip. I’ll be working in a design group, which I had most fun with at school, working in 3-D printing and design on the computer, computer-aided design and modeling. I’m not sure of the job description, but I’m excited to learn and see what it ends up being.
Allen Lessels can be reached at email@example.com.