June 1, 2015
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Racing is in Andrew Chetcuti’s blood and he just can’t get enough of it.
Even though his college career recently ended, the Malta native, who showed his versatility during his years at Georgia Tech, swimming sprints and relays in freestyle, butterfly and backstroke, twice earning a place on the ACC Academic Honor Roll and earning a piece of school-records in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays, is just getting started.
Chetcuti is gearing up to hit the pool for his first event of the summer in the 16th Games of the Small States of Europe Championships, a nine-nation event (Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, and San Marino) which runs from June 1-6, this year being held in Iceland.
At GSSE 2015, he will participate in five events (three individual events and two relays) for his native country, in which he holds long-course records in the 50-, 100-, and 200-meter freestyle, and 4×100 freestyle relay, and short-course records in the 100- and 200 free, the 50- and 100 fly, and 4×100 free relay and 4×100 medley relay.
Chetcuti will be just as busy after the Small Nations.
In July he’ll compete at the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia, in hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, giving him a second chance at Olympic gold (he swam in the 100 freestyle for Malta at the 2012 London Games). Then, in the fall, he’ll return to Atlanta to complete his final semester in earning his degree in biomedical engineering.
Chetcuti took a few minutes to talk with The Good Word about the Small Nations Championship, the big things he’s already accomplished in swimming and the bigger picture for him both in and out of the pool.
THE GOOD WORD: What are the Games of the Small States of Europe Championships? What events will you be doing and is there anyone you look forward to competing against?
Andrew Chetcuti: Games of the Small States of Europe or Small Nations Games, is a biannual multi-sports event where the countries that participate are European nations with populations of under one million, such as Malta, Monaco, Iceland, Luxembourg etc. This year’s edition will be held in Iceland and will be third time that I will be participating in the games. I’ll be racing the 50 and 100 free along with the 100 fly whilst teaming up to race in the 4×100 free and medley relays. The competitors there are usually the same few guys I’m used to racing but there are some new younger kids who will be tough to race. It should be a good fast meet and I can’t wait to go!
TGW: What are your plans as far as future competition, especially the 2016 Summer Olympics?
CHETCUTI: I have several goals for future competition, most of which I like to keep to myself but certainly qualification for Rio and the World Championships this summer are on that list. After competing in the London Olympic Games, although I raced well, there was more that I wanted to accomplish and I hope to do so in Rio.
TGW: What will your training regimen be like? With whom will you be doing future training?
CHETCUTI: Being done with eligibility has changed the way I will train as I will no longer have the load of competing at Dual meets and Conference etc. with the [Georgia Tech] team — which l will miss dearly. However I still plan on training with the team throughout next season leading up to Rio. Currently, for the summer, I am swimming with my longtime club coach, Grant Kritzinger, who has been preparing me for Small Nations and hopefully the Worlds this summer in Russia.
TGW: What is your favorite Georgia Tech swimming memory?
CHETCUTI: It’s pretty hard for me to come up with a single favorite memory of swimming at Georgia Tech. I’d say my favorite swim meet was the Georgia Tech Invite of my sophomore year, where I finally got times that correlated to what I was capable of going in long-course meters. But the experience of being on the team as a whole was a great memory that I’ll always cherish. I never thought growing up I’d be able to train with such a great group of guys and I’m going to miss them all big time next year and the years after that. One memory that will always stick in my mind was “running through the tunnel” on Senior Day and being able to truly appreciate all the awesome people I had met and matured with. What I enjoyed the most is the team as a whole. They’re all awesome people!
TGW: Of the records that you hold at Georgia Tech and in your native Malta, which makes you the most proud and why?
CHETCUTI: There are a few things I’m proud of when it comes to records at Georgia Tech and at home in Malta. With GT, I was pretty pumped when my name went up on the official Olympian List in the Athletic Building and Swimming and Diving Team room. At home I’d say competing for my nation, Malta, at the Olympic Games and getting a national record in the 100 free there (although I’ve beaten it now!). I’ll never forget that experience.
TGW: What are your career goals? Do you have any internships lined up?
CHETCUTI: This summer I’ll be working in a physical therapy unit at a local hospital here in Malta, whilst also taking up an assistant coaching role with my club team (Sirens). Career-wise, I plan on applying to several schools to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT), with the University of Miami at the top of my list. Ideally, my dream would be to work as a physical therapist with a professional sports team either in the USA or back home in Dubai/Malta!