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Athlete of the Week: Lyndon Ferns on life in the States

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CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Lyndon Ferns, a native South African, led the UA swim squad last weekend, posting three individual wins against Stanford.
By Branden Lombardi
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Januay 29, 2003

Sport: Swimming
Events: Freestyle, Butterfly, and Relays
Year: Freshman
Major: Undecided, hopefully business
Hometown: Pietersburg, South Africa
Why Ferns won: In his first meet ever as a Wildcat, Ferns won three individuals against Stanford, then had another impressive showing against California.

Wildcat: What was it like to have such success in your first college meet?

Ferns: I think it's really important to have success in your first meet, because you need to make a name for yourself, especially with the Pac-10's and NCAA's coming up.

Wildcat: Besides the difference in the distances you are swimming (meters versus yards), what is the biggest difference swimming for Arizona as opposed to swimming for your home country of South Africa in international competition?

Ferns: I think the competition over here is much more intense, whether it is in training or in the meet.

Wildcat: Why did you want to come to the University of Arizona?

Ferns: I had a friend, Ryk Neethling, who was here a few years ago, and I spoke to him about it, and then (head coach Frank Busch) gave me a call, and I liked the staff and the idea of coming here.

Wildcat: What do you think of Tucson?

Ferns: I think it's lovely. The weather conditions for winter are awesome. I love the mountains, the weather and the people.

Wildcat: What do you miss most about South Africa?

Ferns: I would definitely say the outdoor life that I had there. I used to camp every single weekend and spend a lot of time outdoors.

Wildcat: What is your favorite thing about living in America?

Ferns: Fast food. Burritos, I like the burritos. They are pretty cool ham, egg and cheese burritos.

Wildcat: What is worse, freshman English or early-morning swim practices?

Ferns: It's hard to say, but I would say the 6 a.m. outdoor training would be the worst.

Wildcat: Who has better-looking girls, South Africa or the University of Arizona?

Ferns: Uh, so far I'd have to say the University of Arizona. I have only been here for five weeks, but they are pretty nice.

Wildcat: How do you concentrate with all those girls just walking around in bathing suits all the time?

Ferns: I don't think my concentration level is very high out of the pool, but when I am getting ready to race I don't really think about that.

Wildcat: Do you shave your legs? And if so, do you like it?

Ferns: I only shave my legs for big meets, and I hate it. No, I really don't like it.

Wildcat: What do you want to accomplish here at the UA?

Ferns: Hopefully I will get my degree, make a name for myself in world swimming and just enjoy my time over here.

Wildcat: Is it a goal of yours to swim for South Africa in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece?

Ferns: That would be my main goal at this stage, definitely.

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