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WINTER SPORTS

Haverford High School’s Katya Eruslanova is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

The sophomore swimmer was PIAA Class 3A District 1 and state champion in the 200 IM (2:01.81, earning All-American Consideration) this winter, and placed second in the District 1 3A and PIAA state championships in the 500 free (4:57.91). She was the 2021 Central League champion in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke (56.93). She broke four school records this year (200 IM – 2:01.81, 500 free – 4:57.91, 200 free – 1:53.53, 200 free relay – 1:39.28) and was selected as the 2021 Central League Swimmer of the Year. She also runs cross country for Haverford, and was a state qualifier as a freshman. Haverford High swimming head coach Matt Stewart said, “Katya’s greatest strengths are her technique and her outstanding work ethic.  She always has a plan for her races and knows how she wants to swim them.  She displays tremendous heart in how she closes her races; she is often at her best in the final lap.  Katya is also a terrific relay swimmer for her teammates – she thrives in close races and consistently honors her teammates with her effort.”

 

Katya Eruslanova with her first-place plaque in the girls 200 IM at the PIAA 3A state championships.

Q: What was the key to your performance at the PIAA Class 3A state swimming championships? What is your favorite memory of the 200 IM race?

 

A: Even though my teammates weren’t there, I knew they were at home cheering me on and it really encouraged me to go for the win. My favorite part was right before the freestyle leg. After being behind at the beginning the race, the girls in lane four and I touched at the same time. There was just a wave of adrenaline and I knew that I could do it.

 

Q: You broke four school records this year – which record means the most to you, and why?

 

A: Probably the 200 free relay and 200 IM means the most to me. Sarah, Ellie, Laura, and I broke the relay record at Districts and I just remember what a fun experience it was to be able to swim with them. I beat my own record in the 200 IM, but before me, it was a 2:03.69, which won the state championships in 1982. It’s cool to see the progressions of winning times from almost 40 years ago.

 

Q: You finished second in the girls 500 free at States to your training partner, Strath Haven junior Sydney Bergstrom. Can you tell us a little about what you have gained from training with Sydney?

 

A: Sydney is an amazing distance swimmer; I’m very lucky to have her as a training partner. When we have a distance set, I look over and she helps me push myself to keep up with her.

 

Q: What aspect of your swimming have you been working on the most recently?

 

A: I’ve been working on my underwaters for a little while now. They have definitely improved when comparing my 200 IM race from last year, but they could still be better for my freestyle events.

 

Q: Can you walk us through a typical day, or cycle, of training, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

 

A: During the high school swim season, I usually went to club swimming on Monday, and Wednesday to Saturday, and then went to Haverford on Tuesdays and Sundays. Because of the pandemic, it was hard to adjust from the regular form of training. But now with the four-person limit in the lane, it gives a lot more space to swim. It also is fun to be paired up with another person on one side and we can encourage each other during practice.

 

Q: Tell us a little about your start in competitive swimming. Who have been your most influential swimming mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?

 

A: When I was 3 years old, we lived in Florida at the time and I learned how to swim as a safety precaution. I moved to Pennsylvania and continued my competitive swimming career.  My coach at Suburban Swim Club, Coach Charlie [Kennedy], has been most influential; he taught me the importance of listening and paying attention to the small details. I’ve always been a good listener, and focusing on the tiny things are a part of my success. Another coach at SSC, Coach Andrew, has taught me to persevere and keep going during practices. Finally, my high school coach, Coach [Matt] Stewart, taught me the mental side of the sport, and how important it is to think positively and not overthink the race too much.

 

Q: What is your favorite swimming venue, and why?

 

A: My favorite place to race at is the pool at the University of Maryland. Before COVID, there was a big annual NCAP invitational there, and I always have great memories swimming and being with my team. There are three huge pools, and overall I always swim fast there.

 

Q: What is your favorite academic course at Haverford High School? What do you think you’d like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?

 

A: My favorite courses are in the math department. I’ve always been a math student and those classes are like puzzles for me. I’m not too sure where I want to be in the future, but as of right now, I want to go into the STEM field.

 

Fun facts – Katya Eruslanova

Favorite book: The Selection.

Favorite TV show: Criminal Minds.

Favorite movie: Tangled.

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Favorite place to visit: Palm Beach, Fla.

Favorite pre-meet meal: “Anything from Panera.”

Family members: parents Evgeny and Natalia, younger sister Liza.

 

(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

 

 

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