Yeah Buoy: An Interview with Andrew Chopey

The Spectator interviews Andrew Chopey, a member of the boys’ varsity swim team and commit to the University of Rochester.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Andrew Chopey

Senior Andrew Chopey has officially committed to the University of Rochester as a member of their men’s varsity swim team. Part of both the Stuyvesant Pirates and the Queens Aquatic Club, he specializes in the 100-yard backstroke and is currently ranked 1st in Queens and 23rd in New York State. As a proud member of the Pirates, who are 4-0 this season, he competes in many different relays, usually placing in the top 3. This season, he is looking to qualify for more individuals and relays than he did last year and help his team to another championship.

Grade: Senior
Height: 5’8
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
DOB: 06/23/01

1. How did you start swimming?

I started swimming when I was five years old; my mom forced me into a swimming program at this community program by my house just so I wouldn’t drown if I ever went to the beach. At first, I really hated it, but slowly, I joined a team for fun then graduated to actually competing, and it’s been like that ever since.

2. Do you swim outside of school?

Yes, I do swim outside of school. I am on a club team called Queens Aquatic Club, and we swim year-round. That means that when it is swim season in school, I split my time between school practices and club practices, and when it is not, my focus is completely on club.

3. What are your aspirations for this PSAL season?

My goals for this season is to make State Championships again, as I did last year, but for more events. Last year, I only made it to State’s for one relay, so this year, my goal is to make it for two individual events and two relays. On top of that, I, along with Nick Wen, Axel Tolpina, and Kai Yamamoto, want to break the Stuy record in the 200-medley relay.

4. What’s the funniest thing that has happened while you’ve been on the team?

To me, the funniest thing that I’ve seen since joining the swim team is watching people who are goons in the pool, on the pool deck, and in the locker room completely reverse their attitude and be very calm and collected to people not associated with the team.

5. Which of your teammates is the funniest?

B​y far, my funniest teammate is [senior] Tolpina. We’ve been together since freshman year in the same biology class and have formed a really strong bond. We’ve all matured a lot since then but Axel always knows how to make us laugh.

6. Proudest moment?

My proudest moment is when I committed to a college through swimming. Ever since I started swimming competitively, my goal has been swimming at a college level. To be able to commit to the University of Rochester, which has not only has a good swim team but also a good engineering program, has to be one of the best moments in my life.

7. Can you talk a bit about the recruiting process?

I basically had to fill out a bunch of forms and also had a lot of email threads and phone calls with the coaches. I also went to Rochester a few times to meet with the coaches. That’s it!

8. How do you balance schoolwork and being on a team? What advice can you give others?

Balancing both swimming and schoolwork is very difficult. When I first came to Stuy, I struggled a lot. However, over the years, I’ve learned the best strategy is to start your work during your frees and on the train ride home. Doing this means that when you get home, you’ve already completed a majority of your homework and makes your life a lot easier.

9. How do you try to constantly improve yourself?

In and out of the pool, I’m always trying to improve myself. In the pool, I push myself to the limit every practice so when I am forced to give it all I have at meets, I can go even faster. Outside of the pool, I’ve been working on my social interactions with people because I’ve always just liked having a group of few, close friends, but I am trying to broaden my horizons by talking to new people and starting new bonds.

10. What will you miss most about being on the team?

Going to college next year, I know that I will really miss each and every person on the swim team. Getting to know everybody, whether I’ve known them for three years or just met them this year, we’ve bonded so much and are almost like a family. The whole team is really fun to be around, and I’m sad that I have to go.

11. Who is your biggest role model / inspiration?

My biggest role model in life is my dad. He always pushes me to try harder, and he was the one that really encouraged me to pursue athletics in college. Furthermore, he was a top level athlete when he was in high school, winning second place in the New Jersey wrestling contest. He also got his Masters from Cornell and is able to do so many things so well. I hope that when I grow up, I can match what my dad has done.

Choice drink: Peach Snapple
Favorite Food: Pancakes
Motto to live by: Achievement seems to be connected with action. Make mistakes but don't quit.
Fun Fact: I’m half Japanese.