SKINNER ON CHEN: "Tenacious competitor who will end her swimming career performing at an all-time best."
2004-05: Finished 15th at the ACC Championships in the 200 butterfly ... Was 22nd at the ACC Championships in the 200 IM ... Won the 200 IM against WVU ... Finished third in the 200 IM against Pittsburgh ... Was 12th in the 400 IM at the Nike Cup ... Won the 400 IM against Miami.
A Talk With... Reflect on your three years at Virginia Tech, what have they meant to you? "They've been lots of fun. A lot of team bonding time."
You're going to graduate in three years, what's motivating you to leave school early? "To go out in the real world and make some money, make something of myself."
You're that anxious to leave this? "I'm that anxious to not be broke."
What is the best part about being on the swimming and diving team? "All the perks that go with being an athlete; the team aspect of it. Making friends so you're not shunned from the college world. The media attention."
You think you'd be shunned if you weren't a swimmer? "I'd just be another bio student. But now I'm an athlete bio student, so I can get the make up tests and stuff."
What's the worst part about being a swimmer then? "Missing class."
You have one meet left, possibly two if you qualify for nationals, what do you want to accomplish in the time you have left? "Swim fast. I'm kind of sad about leaving, but I just want to swim as fast as I can. If I don't hit my goals, then that's alright. At least I know I tried."
What's the last movie you watched? "What kind of a random question is that? ... Four Brothers."
Are you into those kinds of movies? "Yeah, it was good. The whole finding the mother's killer was kind of interesting."
Are you guys going to be watching it on a future road trip? "Probably not; nobody else likes those kinds of movies."
You do some distance events. When you're in the pool for that long, what do you think about? "I just stare at other people. I'm like 'I hope they don't lap me or I hope Beth (Byrum) doesn't catch up soon'. Sometimes I sing songs to myself. I used to sing 'This is the song that never ends'. That can occupy me for a long time."
Best road trip story? "My freshman year, we had an assistant coach, who isn't here any more. And Lauren (Dillon) was my bus partner that year, and she was eating an apple. There was a bad spot, so she spit it out. I grabbed it, threw it and hit (the assistant coach) in the back of the head. And she got really angry and came to where we were sitting and yelled 'who threw this? Who threw this?' And we had to sit there and stare straight ahead and pretend to be watching the TV. She still doesn't know it was us."
What got you interested in biology? "I guess I didn't see what else there was to do here. I knew I didn't want to do engineering."
Was it something you were pretty good at in high school? "Yeah, I went to a science-dominated school, so it seemed logical."
What do you want to do with it, since you want to be making the cash? "I don't know yet. I want to work for the government, I know that much. After that I'm not sure."
So where do you see yourself in ten years? "Celebrating the ten-year anniversary of you asking me that question. I don't know. I don't even know what I'm doing next year, yet."
2003-04: Finished second in the 200 butterfly against Louisville ... Placed sixth at the BIG EAST Championships in the 400 IM ... Placed second in the 200 IM against Louisville and Pittsburgh.
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered three times for Coach Laura Eldredge at Ocean Lakes High ... Was MVP of her team 1999-2002 ... Named Metropolitan Swimmer of the Year.
PERSONAL: Emily El Chen was born December 21, 1984 in Norfolk, Virginia ... Daughter of Bruce and Deborah Chen ... Majoring in chemistry.