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Aug. 7, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State rising junior Melissa Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico) has had a busy offseason in the pool, most recently participating in the Mexican Long Course National Championships (July 14-19) in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, Mexico.
While at the championships, Rodriguez set Mexican national records in the 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 32.44 and the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:09.95. She also posted a meet record in the 200-meter breaststroke, touching the wall in 2:29.53.
Rodriguez's performance qualified her for a spot on the Mexican national team at the Central American and Caribbean Games, which take place from Nov. 14-30 in Veracruz, Mexico.
As a sophomore at Penn State, Rodriguez participated in three individual events and one relay event at the NCAA Championships. At the Big Ten Championships, she set a school record in the 200-yard breaststroke, clocking in at 2:09.54.
GoPSUsports.com caught up with Rodriguez about her experience competing for her country this summer:
Q: What does it mean to you to break two national records and set another meet record at the Mexican National Championships? A: It means a lot to me because I have been working so hard to improve my 100 since 2010, which was when I recorded my previous best time. It was a surprise when I first saw the time in prelims and realized all of the improvement that I made swimming at Penn State. For the 50, it was all about having fun and again, I was surprised with the result and it felt so exciting because I broke the record by one one-hundredth of a second. The 200 means a lot to me because it's my favorite event and I dropped one second off my previous best time and got closer to the Mexican national record.
How did your preparations at Penn State help you perform so well? I think what I got out of preparing at Penn State was the environment in which I was training. My teammates and coaches were having fun and working hard, and that was what I needed. Even though I was the only one preparing for Mexican Nationals and my teammates were preparing for another meet, the combination was great.
What can you take away from your performance that you can bring back to Penn State to help you in the future? More confidence, definitely. I had a lot of fun racing in my country and that helped me to relax before the race and just keep calm. For future meets, I will be more relaxed and race the way I know how.
How do your performances at this meet help you reach your goal of representing Mexico in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio?
This was a step closer to my ultimate goal, which is to represent Mexico in Rio 2016. This performance showed me that I'm on the right track. From now on, I will focus on the things I have to improve to make it a reality.