Swimmer brings creative mind to team

By Aaron Graff

A Saluki swimmer contributed a fun video, which could help recruitment in the future.

Junior swimmer Andrew Spencer made a music video of the team’s trip to Puerto Rico during winter break, and it already has more than 1,000 views on YouTube.

Spencer is studying cinema and devotes the majority of his time to the team and his schoolwork. He said he enjoys filming experiences with the team.


“Documenting stuff with cinema is something that I’ve always loved doing,” he said.

Spencer said he has been involved in music for most of his life. He took piano lessons as a kid and acted in musicals during high school. He said he selected the music for the video by going through the top songs on the charts.

The video will not only be for entertainment. Coach Rick Walker said recruits need to know the work that has to be put in but he also wants to show them the enjoyable aspects of being a Saluki.

“We’ll put it out because it depicts the fun side of our trip to Puerto Rico,” he said. “It doesn’t show you the days they drag their butts out of the water and crawl to their rooms to get a nap.”

Spencer’s teammate, freshman Dusan Vukobrat, said if he were an incoming freshman, the video would help recruit him.

“It promotes SIU values, and values of the swim team,” he said.

Spencer said the coaches were accommodating while he filmed. He said some days he would have to set his camera down and hope it picked something up while he trained.

Walker said he hardly noticed Spencer with his camera, but he still made a great video and got all his training in.

“I rarely ever see him with the camera,” Walker said. “That’s probably even more spectacular. He’s just really good at getting the clips that he needs.”

Spencer said his biggest project in film so far was his short film, “FOOL,” which he made in cinema and photography class taught by professor Hong Zhou. Spencer wrote, directed and acted in the film. He said he spent the more time on it than anything else, and he lost a lot of sleep.

“(Zhou) has made me love the art even more than I used to before,” he said.

“FOOL” is an acronym for “Falling Out Of Love,” which Spencer’s character does. Spencer’s girlfriend and teammate, freshman Kristina Ksarjian, played the lead female character.

“Everyone who watched it said it was kind of like a pseudo breakup,” Spencer said. “Basically, we got to experience what it would be like if we actually broke up without the realism.”

Spencer also had multiple teammates star as extras in his film. He said it was weird directing them since he was acting and they are his friends.

Spencer said the further he goes into his career, the harder it gets to manage his time. He said the easiest way to get more time is for him to sleep less.

“It’s very hard to balance,” Spencer said. “A lot of people underestimate how much work goes into an arts degree.”

Spencer hopes to work with GoPro and Red Bull in the future and dreams of making his own movies.

“Andrew is a guy who I am almost positive I’m going to want to call up in many years from now and say, ‘Do you think you could get me tickets to your opening premier?,'” Walker said.

Both “FOOL” and Spencer’s music video can be found on his YouTube channel, “JAY_SPENCE.”