One-on-One with: Iuliia Kuzhil

Nov. 10, 2010

Hard work and perseverance are words that have followed senior backstroke swimmer Iuliia Kuzhil throughout her collegiate career. The Cherkasy, Ukraine native has had a great deal of success swimming at the University of Kansas. Kuzhil was one of two Jayhawks that represented the University of Kansas at the NCAA Championships in 2010. She also broke two school records with her ninth-place finishes in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard backstroke and earned All-America Honorable Mention Accolades.

Although, Kuzhil has received a substantial amount of accolades she knows that through hard work, perseverance, and the support of her team she can be successful. When asked about her senior leadership role and the success she has had thus far she expressed how she defines success, what she wants to instill in her teammates based on her experiences, and her most memorable moments at the University of Kansas.

What is the greatest thing about attending the University of Kansas?

I would say the atmosphere, the college campus and the swimming team because they are my second family.”

What’s the biggest difference between home and the United States?

“I would say everything because there is so many things that are different .The college is different and swimming is different because we don’t have college system. I didn’t know anything about the college system before I came to the United States.”

How did it feel to be One of two Jayhawks that represented KU at the NCAA Championships last year? What were the more memorable moments and what did you take away from your experience that will help you in your future events?

“I was really looking forward to going to the NCAA Championship that year. I made a personal goal in the beginning of the year that I was going to constantly improve my times so that I would put myself in the best position. Finally at the Big 12 I made an ‘A’ cut on 100 backstroke. I made it to the finals and that was amazing. I was hoping for it, but wasn’t expecting to make it to the finals. I believe that moment helped with my overall confidence and was an overall great experience.”

Many collegiate athletes compete in their four years of college and graduate without breaking any school records, how does it feel to have broken two school records in your college career?

“It feels awesome, but it definitely was a lot of hard work. I feel that if you work hard towards what you want to accomplish and put a lot effort it is achievable.”

What is the biggest thing you feel that has set you apart and made you so successful?

“I guess I had a great desire to achieve my goals and I was not going to be satisfied unless I achieved them.”

Many people have their own definition of how they define success, based on all the experience and accolades you have received throughout your college career how you define success?

“I would say success is not based on whether you win or lose; success is based on if you set your goal and you achieve your goal. Even if you were the last person at the NCAA Championship, but you achieved your goal and made it there or you improved your times, that is success.”

What elements of leadership do you try to instill in your teammates that you believe has helped you and your team be successful?

“I try to instill confidence and experience in my teammates. Experience adds to confidence. The more positive experience you get the more confidence you get and the more successful you will be.”

Sports has a lot of ups and downs, victories and defeats. How do you prepare yourself and your teammates to deal with adversity?

“I believe the building activities help a lot and I am always trying to make sure that my teammates are doing fine throughout the season.”

What is your most memorable moment swimming at KU?

“Last year’s NCAA tournament is my most memorable moment.”

What does being a Jayhawk mean to you?

“It means everything to me, it is my life right now because that is what I want it to be. I am came to KU with the thoughts of swimming and getting my education. I think that I picked one of the best places to live and go to college.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

“I just prepare my cap and goggles before the race so they won’t break when I am in the race.”