The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Emre Celik swims his way into the CSUN record books

It’s a Thursday and there’s a slight chill in the air. The hot days that Southern California are known for are nowhere in sight on this particular afternoon. The chill can seem arctic cold if you’re not a CSUN swimmer.

Despite the harsh weather, swimming practices continued as scheduled. The scantily clad male and female Matador swimmers have beat the chill in the air and now face their fiercest opponent, the pool. The outdoor pool with its glistening water today appears as cold as ice to a non-swimming spectator.

Along with the chill in the air, there is another component that makes this scene unusual. Emre Celik, one of the pool’s most competitive opponents, is absent from the water, standing by the pool and conversing with his fellow swimmers.

For the last four days, Celik, an Olympic-hopeful and one of CSUN’s best swimmers has been battling another foe. He has been sick for the majority of the week. Despite being physically drained from battling a cold, Celik will only miss two practices of the thirteen he has scheduled for the week.

Celik practices seven days a week with an average of two practices a day. He says if you want something, it takes practice. And this year, Celik wants to make it to the 2008 Olympics. This will be the second time the CSUN senior takes a shot at Olympic glory. In the 2004 Olympics, Celik didn’t take home gold but instead finished in 19th place competing for Turkey. It is an accomplishment Celik wears as proudly as a gold medal.

This work ethic is what Celik’s peers and coach Barry Schreifels say sets him apart from other swimmers and has gained him notoriety and success as a college swimmer.

Chris Ardoin, a fellow CSUN swimmer and Celik’s roommate says Celik is very determined in the pool and sets an example for the younger swimmers on the team. Ardoin also says this work ethic has and will continue to allow Celik to break records at CSUN.

“His work ethic is inspirational and he is so passionate about swimming,” Ardoin said.

In fact, in his short time as a California State University Northridge swimmer, Celik has broken and set records.

During the 2006-07 season Celik set new records at CSUN in both the 100 and 200-meter backstroke events. Not only has he seen success at CSUN, he was also the 2005-06 NCAA Division II champion in the 200 backstroke event while competing for Henderson State.

But, despite his success, the 22-years-old is quite modest about his accomplishments and is never one to be overtly vocal about it. Celik says he never wants to be known as the cocky swimmer who is self-absorbed about his success.

Celik’s concept about success can seem unconventional for a college athlete. He is more concerned about seeing improvement in his abilities as a swimmer, than in winning a heat.

“When I see my best time, nothing can make me happier than that,” Celik said.

Schreifels said Celik is very much a team player who doesn’t let the success change him and who often mentors many of the younger swimmers on the team.

“He goes harder for the team than he goes for himself,” Schreifels said.

In fact, Celik credits his concept of success as the factor that has driven him in his swimming career.

Celik’s journey to becoming a CSUN swimmer began in Turkey. He was born December 19, 1985 in Istanbul to Omer and Meral Celik. His family encouraged him from a young age to enjoy and participate in a sport.

After his parents presented him a variety of sports he could join, he fell in love with swimming at the age of three, Celik said. He was only swimming for a short period time before his parents realized he needed more time to become physically developed before he could swim properly. After a two-year break, Celik eventually made it back to the pool and has yet to leave. By the age of 11, Celik was competing on a national level for Turkey.

But for Celik, the sweetest victory he has yet to see is defeating one of Turkey’s legendary swimmers, Derya Buyukuncu, a former Olympian and Celik’s toughest competitor. Celik says he has a lot respect for the legendary swimmer and hopes to one day swim against him and beat him.

Despite never winning a race against Buyukuncu, Celik still holds the title of being the first swimmer trained in Turkey to swim 2:02.1 in the country. This is the only time Celik seems to be openly excited about one of his many accomplishments.

Celik is different from many athletes in personality and demeanor, but also the goals he has set for himself. In his last year of NCAA eligibility, Celik is looking towards a different direction from just swimming. A tourism-management major, Celik wants to open his own hotels after ending his swimming career.

Celik says swimming is a job he is passionate about right now, but he wants people to know that he is not just a swimmer.

In fact after the European Championship of 2008, he plans to retire from the sport of swimming.

“I am not just all about swimming,” said Celik.

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