The "Time Out" feature will provide St. Joe's
followers with an opportunity to learn more about our athletes and
other individuals involved in athletics.
The short interviews will focus on recent events in professional sports or St. Joe's athletics, possibly current issues in the news. No specific format will be followed; we will ask open-ended questions and discover where the conversation takes us from there!
This week we will feature junior Ashton Piers, a Deering High School graduate and a member of the 2007-08 Swim team. Piers is a Nursing Major at Saint Joseph's College and lives off campus with her family in Falmouth, ME. Piers has twice been named the GNAC Women's Swimmer of the Week this season and has recorded a remarkable campaign thus far for the first-year varsity program. Piers participates in the 100-yard individual medley, 200-yard individual medley relay and 50 and 100-yard breaststroke events. Sports Information Director Corey McCarthy conducted the following interview:
Corey McCarthy: How was your Christmas break?
Ashton Piers: I worked a lot! Even on Christmas Eve! I had to hustle home at 7:00 AM to be with my family on Christmas Day.
CM: Where do you work?
AP: I started at Mercy Hospital in Portland as a Certified Nurse Assistant in July (2007). It's been a great experience and I've learned so much. I love the staff, they are very supportive, especially when I am exhausted from swim practice!
CM: What area of nursing would you like to be in after you get your degree?
AP: I've been working on the Cardiac floor at Mercy a lot, I may stay with that. I also like kids.
CM: You must have some interesting stories to tell about your job.
AP: The idea that people go crazy at sundown is definitely true! One night a patient tried to beat me up with his eyeglasses case because I wouldn't let him out of bed. I've also cleaned a deceased person's body.
CM: How was that?
AP: I was really nervous at first. Let's just say it was another learning experience...
CM: Your coach, Rebecca Biggs, tells stories of your dedication to the Swim Team despite your busy work schedule and the fact that you commute to St. Joe's. What do you say to that?
AP: There have been some long days, you definitely have to prioritize your time. Sometimes my schedule gets a bit hectic, like on a day where I leave SJC after class or practice late in the day to work a 12-hour shift at the hospital, only to return directly from Mercy to attend a 7:00 AM swim practice.
CM: How do you do it??
AP: When I get tired I drink Red Bull! Lots of caffeine!
CM: Do you have time for hobbies?
AP: I love to watch television but don't get much of a chance to do so.
CM: Any favorites?
AP: I realized a couple of weeks ago that my favorite TV show was "House." I've been so busy that I completely forgot!
CM: Why did you choose Saint Joseph's College?
AP: I love the campus, it's beautiful here. Also, the fact that my step-mom, Sheri McCarthy-Piers, was a nursing major here helped me decide. I applied and was accepted at two schools but I knew Saint Joseph's College was the place for me.
CM: Did your step-mom play sports here?
AP: Yes, she played basketball from 1989-1993. I think her name is in the record books for assists and maybe steals. I've been told they wouldn't let her shoot the ball...
CM: She's second all-time in assists with 603 and fourth all-time in steals with 253. Your information may be off a bit; she's seventh all-time in three-pointers made (90).
AP: I'll have to ask her about that! She's still involved in athletics as she runs in a lot of marathons and is the cross country coach at Westbrook High School. She qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials in November.
CM: That's amazing! Does your father run as well?
AP: He does. He's actually going to miss the Olympic Trials because he's running in the Boston Marathon the next day.
CM: How about you, do you enjoy running?
AP: Oh, no. Ashton stays in the water!!
CM: Are you a big New England sports fan?
AP: I follow all of the teams, but the Red Sox are my favorite.
CM: Any favorite players?
AP: My Big Papi!!! (Red Sox Designated Hitter, David Ortiz)
CM: Do you ever have time to catch a game?
AP: I try to go to a game at least once a year.
CM: How about the resurgent Celtics?
AP: I've been following them, too. I have tickets for their game against Atlanta in March.
CM: Did you play in other sports in high school?
AP: No, only swimming. I played soccer and softball and danced until it became evident that my passion was swimming. I then gave all the other activities up, swimming was more important.
CM: Since swimming is an new varsity sport at St. Joe's I'm certain that many students don't know much about it. What would you say to those people to help educate them on your sport?
AP: A lot goes into the sport. There are a lot of rules that apply to each individual event. For example, whenever you turn in the breaststroke you must "double touch" the pad at the end of the lane. If you don't you are disqualified. Many of the strokes are very technical as well.
CM: Are injuries common?
AP: Injuries are huge in swimming, right up there with contact sports. A lot of swimmers have shoulder issues; I swim everyday with tendonitis in both shoulders (rolls her shoulders so clicking noise can be heard).
CM: Any embarrassing moments you'd like to share?
AP: The worst is when the starter tells you that you have to stand up because not all swimmers got into position at the same time. Swimmers have to stand up on the block and it's difficult to maintain balance. Some fall in!
CM: Have you ever fallen in?
CM: When you first came to St. Joe's as a freshman the school didn't have a swim team, what did you do?
AP: I swam a lot on my own.
CM: As a sophomore you were a member of the club swim team, what was that like?
AP: As a group we really bonded under Coach (Rebecca) Biggs. We also did a lot of fundraising to prepare for our first season as a varsity sport in the GNAC.
CM: Your teammate, freshman Lindsay D'Ascanio (Kennebunk, ME), seems to be having a great season as well. Do you two push each other to become better?
AP: Definitely. We have a friendly competition and joke around about who finishes with more points in a meet, stuff like that. Lindsay and I have a sisterly bond.
CM: Tell us about the New England Championships (held @ UMASS-Dartmouth 2/15-2/17).
AP: The New England's are what it's all about! Each event has an "A" qualifying time and a "B" qualifying time. If you achieve an "A" time, you are automatically in the Championships. A "B" time means you will get in if not enough swimmers met the "A" times.
CM: Would you like to coach someday?
AP: Yes, I would love to coach.
CM: How do you feel about the swim team's performance so far this season?
AP: I knew exactly where we would be; we've put in the time so we deserve every win that we've gotten.
CM: Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed for our feature!
AP: Thank you, it was fun!