The Ultimate Nation - Jimmy Mickle & Cassie Swafford

Posted: June 27, 2014 04:45 PM


Ultimate Nation: 2014 Episode #6



Host                     Guests 
Bourland Matthew   Headshot JimmyMickle Headshot CassieSwafford 

 Matthew Bourland
Manager - New Media
USA Ultimate


Jimmy Mickle
2014 Callahan Winner

Cassie Swafford
2014 Callahan Winner

Note - the following is a transcript of this week's show, lightly edited for clarity:

USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Hi, everyone.  Welcome to the Ultimate Nation. I have the pleasure of being joined by Cassie Swafford and Jimmy Mickle, your 2014 Callahan winners and National Champions.  Cassie/Jimmy, thanks for joining us today.
Headshot CassieSwafford   Yeah, thank you.
Headshot JimmyMickle
  Yeah, thanks for having us.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Absolutely.  As a quick reminder, if you're watching this, if you use the twitter #ultimatenation, we are monitoring that, and send your questions there and maybe we'll ask your question on the air.  We'll start with some questions from us, first.  
Let's talk about this most recent season.  You both started by winning U-23 gold medals.  Your teams won the National Championship.  You both won the Callahan Award.  Kind of a perfect season.  I'll go through some questions about each of those elements, but first I kind of want to know, what's next?  I know, Jimmy, you have the U.S. Open and WUCC.  Cassie, what are you doing this summer and fall?
Headshot CassieSwafford
  I'll be playing with a mixed team in Columbus, Ohio, called Santa Maria, so we should have a pretty good run at Regionals hopefully, and the goal is to make it to club nationals for the first time.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   That's great.  And, Jimmy, what are you most looking forward to this summer?
Headshot JimmyMickle
  Yeah, like you said, the U.S. Open is coming up next weekend, and then Worlds in Italy, so looking forward to both of those. 
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   That's great.  So, I want to back up a little bit to U-23, partially because we just announced a call for coaches for the 2015 U-23 teams.  Talk a little bit about that experience, and what that experience of playing on a team with people who you probably later faced in the college season, how that impacted your college season?
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Well, it was a really cool experience.  We'd both done U-20 several years ago, but U-23 was different because now you're playing with a bunch of players that you'd seen regularly throughout college.  It was really interesting because it is a lot of players coming from a lot of different teams that have faced each other in big games before, so it was really fun to make friendships and learn from all of these really talented college players. 
Headshot JimmyMickle   Yeah, and going off that, I thought it was also cool along with the U.S. players, seeing them grow from U-20 to U-23, being able to play against the same players from other teams that we saw at U-20, play against them at U-23 and see how much other countries are developing, too.  So, I thought it went both ways, which was really cool to see.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Yeah, that is pretty interesting.  So, moving on to your storybook seasons in the college division.  One question that comes to mind is, at what point in time did you individually believe without a doubt that your team was going to win?
Headshot JimmyMickle   I'm not sure I ever believed without a doubt that we were going to win.  I had a lot of confidence in our team, in the direction we were heading all season, and our goals and what we had to do to accomplish those, but I'm also, I wasn't new to Nationals.  I know that know matter how good of a team you are, other teams can show up and ruin your day at any point in time, so, we definitely had confidence, but I'm not sure there was ever a point where beyond any doubt we were going to win, except for when we scored the final goal, I guess.
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Yeah, and I completely agree there.  You know, we were new to the finals.  We're still fairly new to Nationals.  We really haven't been on the big stage before, and I totally believed in our team, and knew that we could do it, but it was a matter of going out and playing like we knew we needed to play.  Yeah, and I really didn't believe it until the last point.  Maybe, like 14-11, I started to get my hopes up, but definitely the last point.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Thinking about the next year, both of your teams are graduating a lot of talent.  Who do you think are the individuals to look out for who might be the Callahan nominees for the programs that you graduated from next year?
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Well, we've got a lot of really good players coming in next year.  Stevie Miller and Jenna Galletta are two names who were making big plays at College Nationals this year, will be leading the team.  They are both really really solid players.  Jenna's got as much experience as me and Stevie is an incredible athlete.  Alaine Wetli, who came in this year as a rookie, and just kind of blew up at Nationals, she'll make some big strides, and we've got a couple of really good juniors girls coming in, that in the next couple of years hopefully will be, I mean next year they will already be playing a big role on the team, I think.
Headshot JimmyMickle   Yeah, I think that we're also graduating a lot of players, but I know that have a lot of younger players who are going to step up in the coming years.  I'm sure everyone's heard, Stanley Peterson kind of made a name for himself at Nationals this year, but has been phenomenal for the rest of the last couple of years. Pawel Janas, really solid handler, that is going to keep doing his thing.  He'll be a senior next year.  Both those guys, so I imagine them being leaders of the team.
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  Nice.  I'm going to ask one more question before we move onto questions people have sent in, just a reminder, use the twitter #ultimatenation and maybe we'll ask your question on the air.  So, the obligatory Callahan question, I guess.  The Callahan award is about more than just being a great player.  There is a Spirit of the Game component to it.  How did it personally feel to have that type of peer recognition, and what does Spirit of the Game mean to you?
Headshot JimmyMickle   I thought it was really cool to get that peer recognition, I guess.  It's cool to get the award based on achievements on the field, but to also have Spirit of the Game as part of it, was really cool.
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Yeah, I definitely agree with that.  You know, in a pool with so many talented players, it's a huge honor.  You almost feel like you don't even deserve it, because there are so many good players out there, and it means a lot to know that other people, kind of believe in what you're doing, beyond like, just the plays on the field.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   As a follow-up question, our first question I'm asking comes from David, @h211acct, who asks: 
Headshot CassieSwafford   Mine is at my parent's house in Ohio.
Headshot JimmyMickle
  Mine is sitting on my desk at home in Boulder, so nothing too fancy.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Nice.  Thank you David for your question.  I'll move onto another question.  This is also for both of you.  This from @terraultimate, who asks:
Headshot JimmyMickle   There's a couple of things that I like to do.  A lot of the time I listen to music, which kind of helps me drown out any outside noise.  Along with that, I kind of like to joke around with my teammates, not take it too seriously, remember that we're just playing frisbee.  So, I try to do both of those things, it's like a mix of staying focused, but also staying loose.
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Yeah, I get pretty nervous in days leading up to big games, or days leading up to Regionals and Nationals, but right before the game, we just try to enjoy being there with my teammates.  One of my best memories from Nationals was right before the finals game we got into the stadium way before anyone else.  We were just sitting under the bleachers listening to music.  We definitely didn't need to be there that early, but we just were all hanging out, dancing, laughing, making some really good memories with the last moments for the 2014 team.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   That's great.  On a related note about music, a question from Joliene Chang, who asks:
Headshot CassieSwafford   I don't think that I have like one pump up song.  We had, "Up, Up and Away", which was our big song when made Nationals the first year, that will always remind me of that, but really any mash-up, or anything that the beat keeps moving, I guess?
Headshot JimmyMickle
  I'm kind of the same way.  I don't have a particular go-to song, but I'm pretty into any of the pop music, so I'd say anything that's ever been in the Top 40 I'm pretty willing to listen to.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   So, we're moving onto another question.  This is for you, Jimmy, from Ian Toner, who asks:
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Is that (#8) Pawel Janas?  Is that who he is asking about?

Oh, we lost Jimmy.  That's too bad.  Well, we'll put that question on hold, and Cassie, I'll ask some specific ones to you while we try to get Jimmy back on the show.  Bear with me just one moment.

Actually, I have one random question.  So, I was trying to research some questions to ask you, and I discovered a 2009 Columbus Dispatch Q&A where you were a basketball player in high school.
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Oh my gosh. Yeah.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   One of the questions was your favorite thing to cook, and you said a Pop Tart.  I guess I'm wondering if all the years in college you've developed your culinary repertoire?
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Uh, not really.  You know, that's terrible that that's still up there.  No, I love Pop Tarts and I will still cook them anytime.  I'm working on it now, though, now that I'm not in college, I have to try to feed myself a little bit better, and I certainly try to eat a little bit healthier around the big parts of the ultimate season, but its an area of improvement for me.
Headshot JimmyMickle   I promise I didn't run away. 
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Sorry, we have Jimmy back, that's great.  Jimmy, we'll get back to the question we asked you in a second.  We were learning about Cassie's culinary skills.  But Cassie, yeah, maybe you should read the nutrition articles from our magazine from Katy Harris.
Headshot CassieSwafford   Yeah, she's very informative.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  So, back to the question for Jimmy.  I'm not sure what Ian was specifically asking, but do you know what he was asking?
Headshot JimmyMickle   Yeah, he was actually, it's kind of an inside joke we had on the U-23 team about a girl, I guess, I thought was cute on a different team.  So, the plan is still in action, so I'd like to keep it under wraps for now.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Okay, we'll keep it at that.
Let's go to some more questions from people who've sent them in.  This one is from Josh Deng, and he asks:
What's the biggest thing you've learned that made a huge improvement in your playing ability?
Headshot JimmyMickle
Headshot CassieSwafford   Go ahead.
Headshot JimmyMickle
  I guess I would say, kind of a commitment outside of normal practice to improving things that I wasn't good at, so I'd kind of try to recognize, it's like, throws that I was uncomfortable throwing in games or something like that, and working on the, specifically outside of practice definitely helped me be more comfortable with specific throws or things in a game.
Headshot CassieSwafford   I would say my struggles are usually more mental.  I'm really tough on myself.  I'm tough on my team.  I remember at U-20 tryouts Miranda Roth [Knowles] pulling me aside one time and just being like, "go be the cutter, just go out and do it, because I know you can do it."  And I, up unto that point I hadn't really believed in myself all that much, or really thought that I could get open against some of the other top players in the country, and so once I think that somebody that you look up to and you respect gives you that kind of advice, that you really take it to heart and start to believe it a lot more.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Interesting.  As a follow-up, it sounds like Miranda made a big impact on you at those tryouts.
Headshot CassieSwafford   Yeah.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  We've all had people in our playing careers who have inspired us and been a big influence on us.  So, which players have been the biggest influence on the type of player that you are?
Headshot CassieSwafford   Which players that I've played with? Or?
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Played with, or coaching, or
Headshot CassieSwafford   Well, you know, Paige Soper and I, I think, learned to play together and we really influenced each other's play a lot.  I learned a lot from my coach, DeAnna Ball, just, as a leader.  When I was a freshman, all of Fever really looked up to Georgia Bosscher, which is kind of like embarrassing to admit that now, that we kind of talked about her and thought that we was super cool, but we did, we watched her and were like, someday we want to be like her.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  And you, Jimmy?
Headshot JimmyMickle   It's kind of been a mix of coaches I've had, players I've played with.  I would say that my college coach, Jim Schoettler, has had a huge impact as a good role model, as a player, and how to deal with situations on the field, and how to work towards things off the field, so he's probably been the biggest influence of anyone, pushing me towards achieving my personal goals, and also our goals as a team.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Great.  We're going to go to another question tweeted in, this is from Stephen Hubbard, who asks:
How did your time with the USAU U-23 teams affect how you compete against college teams with U-23 teammates on them?
Headshot JimmyMickle
  I would say that playing with those guys at U-23 and then playing against them at college kind of up the level of respect that you have for another team, when you kind of know someone personally on different teams, you're more likely to treat them with respect and fairness, not that you don't try to do that towards everyone, but when you know someone on a team, it definitely helps that cause, and know that they don't have ill intentions when they make a call or something like that.  I definitely things that is part of the reason that Spirit of the Game has gotten better in the last few years in the college game, is that a lot of the players who are playing against each other have been teammates before in the past.
Headshot CassieSwafford   Yeah, I completely echo that.  You get know the person behind the player, and when someone makes a big play on the opposing team that has been your teammate in the past, you almost want to be like: "Hey that was an awesome play.  You know, that was really good, I remember when you did that on the team that we played on together."  Certainly, you get to know a player, and it gives you a leg up strategy-wise, because you know what to expect, but I mean, with technology out these days I think there's scouting anyway, but, I think respect is the biggest thing.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  And I'm sure that that will continue on in years to come as you continue to play against former teammates in the club series.  We're going to move onto another question.  Let's go to the one from Marcus, who asks:
Headshot CassieSwafford
  That's a tough question.  I think that, and I don't know if I'm the best to answer this question, but I think it depends on the player.  I think about some of the players on our teams who just really picked up throwing well, like Paige Soper when she was a rookie, she just picked up throwing like she had been doing it her whole life and she was easily throwing low releases in with her normal release throws just from, innately, almost.  There are certainly some players who've got to work on their normal backhands and forehands first.  You don't want them to potentially change their form.  I would take it more on a case by case basis, I guess.
Headshot JimmyMickle   My feelings on it is that there is a different between someone learning new release points and someone being lazy with their throws, or something.  I would never try to discourage someone from throwing something a little unconventionally or from a different release point, because I think it's really helpful to be able to do that, but I also think that there's a time and place to do that, and a time and place to throw a normal driven throw, or something like that.
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  We probably have time for a few more questions.  This is one just for you, Jimmy, and probably also an inside joke that I don't know about. 
Headshot JimmyMickle   Oh, boy.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  From David, @h221acct, who asks:
Headshot JimmyMickle
  I did not win my school's spelling bee. 
Headshot CassieSwafford   Sorry about that.
Headshot JimmyMickle
  If it's an inside joke, I might have forgotten about it, but I'm not a great speller.
Headshot CassieSwafford   I think it's an inside joke because I won a spelling bee.
Headshot JimmyMickle
  Oh, boy.
Headshot CassieSwafford   So, I think that's the
Headshot JimmyMickle
  That's it.
Headshot CassieSwafford   It's okay, don't feel bad.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  Okay, so I actually have a general question.  There are probably a lot of youth players that maybe will watch this over the next week, and probably both look up to you.  And so, for them, what advice would you give players entering college on how to be a successful student athlete?
Headshot CassieSwafford   Well, there's definitely a balance.  You can't just sell your life to frisbee.  But, you also have to know that you're making that one of your main commitments.  It changes from team to team.  If you are playing for a team that is going to want to compete at the highest levels, they're probably going to ask more of you, and so you have to align with that right away.  I think that the older players are pretty good helping younger player's transition into college, and there is some leniency in the beginning when you are certainly trying to figure out how to be in college, let alone how to play college ultimate.  I think my biggest advice would be to just stick with it, enjoy it for all of the moments.  There are definitely some tough times.  You'll probably feel burnt out at least once a season, but you look back at the end and you know that it's all worth it.
Headshot JimmyMickle
  Yeah.  Going off that, I'd say that kind of make time for things that matter to you, so if school and frisbee matter, I'm a pretty big believer that there's time to do both, and that you might have to cut out some other activities.  You might not be able to go skiing as much, or do other things that you like.  I always felt that ultimate have me the chance to help me in school sometimes because I could work hard on an assignment for a few hours knowing I had practice that night or something to look forward to.  Definitely time management is important when you know that you are going to be gone for a weekend, and no matter how much homework you bring, you're not going to get any of it done.  Working ahead, and take advice from the older players on the team because they have been doing it for awhile.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Okay.  We have another question from Jonathan Mast, he asks:
How do you tend to workout/train for Ultimate?
Headshot JimmyMickle   Let's see.  My training regiment changes whether I'm in-season or not, so during the school year when I'm busy with school and we have practice and conditioning four or five times per week, I'm definitely still trying to get in the weight room and stuff, but it's for a shorter period of time to try not to destroy my body; whereas, in the summer or something when I'm not doing as much, I could do longer workouts.  I would recommend getting with someone, there's a former Mamabird player Chris Wiccus, who is a personal trainer now who helps us a lot, so I would say the best advice is to kind someone who knows what they are talking about and don't just guess with that kind of stuff.
Headshot CassieSwafford
  I definitely have a hard time motivating myself to work out individually.  So, I think that working out with your teammates is typically more rewarding.  We actually just put in a new fitness director, like a new leadership position, that kind of dictated what we did throughout the season, and it added some more structure and left it less up to us and more up to those leaders of what we were going to do.  I think at the beginning it's just making sure that you're in the right cardio shape and then doing some lifting in the winter months and then moving into more sprint workouts.  I think that teammates are the ones that really motivate you to work harder.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Well, that's good advice.  I think we're about to wrap it up.  I guess I have one more question for you, Jimmy.  You seem to be one of the first players to have his own hashtag. #micklemania seems to date back at least to your NexGen bus tour days. I'm just curious what you think about #micklemania as a hashtag, and what does your sister think of that?
Headshot JimmyMickle
  It's pretty funny.  I know my sister, I think, her team tried to create her own hashtag because they were tired of me stealing all of her thunder.  But, it was kind of funny how it all started.  Five Ultimate was sending our team some shorts that some high schoolers has won for us, and on one of the shorts they just printed #micklemania, and that was kind of the origin of it all.  Everyone kind of just took off with it from there.  I guess it's pretty funny, but sometimes it's annoying when everyone is yelling it when I'm trying to play, but it's all right.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Well, Jimmy and Cassie, any parting thoughts from either of you?
Headshot JimmyMickle
  Nope, I don't think so.
Headshot CassieSwafford   Thanks for having us.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200
  This was a lot of fun, and I appreciate you taking the time to join us.  For everyone, we're probably going to do another show sometime after the U.S. Open.  We're always open for ideas of who you'd like to hear from and what types of shows you'd like to see, so send in your thoughts and ideas to #ultimatenation.  Jimmy, Cassie, thanks for joining us today.
Headshot JimmyMickle   Thank you.
Headshot CassieSwafford
  Thank you.
USAUltimateLogo 200x200   Bye.



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