Tiger Tales is a weekly piece highlighting a DePauw student-athlete. Athletic-intern Adam Tierney conducts the interviews.
Alex Grissom is a senior on the men's swimming team who has had a great season continuing into the NCAA's. He competes in the 200 and 500 meter freestyle events and competes in all relays expect for the 200 medley relay. Recently at the NCAC Championships, he put up an all-conference swim and a third-place finish as a member of the 400 free relay team.
He hails from Franklin, Ind. and is a graduate of Franklin High School. Grissom loves the outdoors and working with his hands.
Grissom is a Beta Theta Phi member and studies geology. He also works for Real Men Read with United Way and is a mentor on campus.
Q: How's the team atmosphere?
A: We are a bunch of five-year-old kids in adult size bodies. [Head coach Adam] Cohen gets really mad at us because it's hard to focus for longer then three minutes, but when the time comes, we bottle down and focus.
Q: How do you think swimming will prepare you for life after college?
A: A big thing is the work ethic, but also my willingness to get up early in the morning. I think my learning curve in that department will be a lot smaller then some other people. Really, it's the amount of time and commitment that you have to put in. Even at the end of the season, you may only drop tenths to hundredths of a second so realizing it is a lot of work for small differences is key to maintaining my motivation.
Q: What is the relationship of athletics and academics for you?
A: Definitely as a swimmer with two practices a day, you have to be on top of your work and be efficient. My professors have been very understanding of my situation and have helped out when they can. It has made me a very organized and efficient person.
Q: What role has your team/coach played in your life at DePauw?
A: They're always the first support group that I've had since the first day. Your fraternity is always there, but when it comes to real problems, it's my team and my coach that I go to first. I've spent the most time with them so naturally they're the closest people to me in my time here.
Q: Tell us about your wood working skills.
A: I don't really know how it started. I guess my dad worked for his dad in a refinishing business. That's how he paid for school. But my grandfather on my mom's side was a shop teacher before he became a principal and was experienced in the area. So, these two people combined their experiences to teach me these skills. Now all the furniture in my room I built. I have also made my mom a medicine cabinet, and made my mom and my sisters a jewelry box for Christmas.
Q: Give us a little biography on your beard.
A: I always had a friend in high school that could grow a beard when he was 15. I was always super jealous and seemed like I could only grow a goatee. I could grow a mustache, but that made me look like a creep. So sophomore year of college, the stubble began to grow and that was the beginning. The summer after that I decided to let it grow out. From April until September, I didn't shave, and it began to slowly grow. Ever since then, I have continued to grow the beard.
Q: What is your routine before you swim?
A: For my 200 free I always listen to Air Force Ones by Nelly before the race. It's always been my song since freshmen year of high school. Then before my 500 free, I have never had a song for that one. It is always the top song on my playlist; the song that keeps getting stuck in your head over and over again. So after a song, I slap my back and clap my hands. Then once I step up to the block I do it again and then clap my hand really loud and get ready to start. If it's relays I'm normally behind the block kneeling and praying.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete - past or present?
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: I always love, "You stand on the shoulders of giants." It really puts it into perspective that there have been people before you and you have to respect that and need to build upon that. I always feel like I work hard because I want to be remembered as one of those giants who people can look back and say he did something sweet here and did something great.
Q: If you are stranded on an island what three items do you want?
A: Cheese, a knife and a hammock. I surely would not bring goggles. Especially where there are sharks, I'm not into that. Also, I don't want to bring a ball, I feel like turning it into Wilson would not be good.