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locker room: very Superstitious

Pregame rituals of UB’s student-athletes

Illustration of a swimmer pounding on the starting blocks

illustration by Hal Mayforth

Brittney Kuras

One of the top swimmers in the MAC, senior Brittney Kuras from Canandaigua, N.Y., might also rank among the most intimidating, thanks to her pre-race ritual. While swimmers are known for doing strange things before a race begins, they tend to keep it low-key. Kuras, by contrast, steps up to the block and repeatedly pounds her hands on it, sending a reverberating thunder-like peal around the natatorium.

How do her competitors feel about the noise? “I’ve had people come up to me after a race and say, ‘That’s really scary,’” says Kuras. “I was doing my routine at one meet, and this girl just turned and screamed at me.”

Kuras got the idea for her pre-race routine when she was watching the Olympics on television as a kid and saw a swimmer do something similar. Fair or not, it seems to be working for her—she was voted the MAC’s Most Outstanding Swimmer in both 2012 and 2011.