Last Wednesday, 19-year-old Swati Goel of Ika became the fourth person to be voted off “Survivor 42,” after a number of her tribemates realized she had been playing them. As a result, Tori Meehan, who was originally meant to be the prime target, escaped yet another Tribal unscathed.
Swati’s elimination came after that of 21-year-old Zach Wurtenberger, who had a “young people’s alliance” with her and Tori, though that fell apart shortly before he was eliminated. Now, Swati has opened up about the regrets she had in the game.
Here’s what you need to know:
Why Swati ‘Very Much Regrets’ Zach’s Elimination
As viewers saw in the “Survivor 42” premiere, Ika’s six members started scrambling as soon as they lost the immunity challenge. Amidst this scrambling, Swati threw out Zach’s name in a discussion with Rocksroy Bailey, in part because she wanted to deflect the target from herself after both she and Zach did the puzzle together, which arguably is where Ika lost the challenge.
In an exit interview with Rob Cesternino, Swati said that she “almost instantaneously” felt regret and remorse for voting out Zach, “even before it happened.” She explained:
It was so so tragic that we went to Tribal in the first few days, and I’m just watching myself throw out Zach’s name and thinking in that moment … ‘Okay, we should keep the tribe strong.’
She added that she and Zach hadn’t yet bonded at that point as much as she had with Rocksroy, so it didn’t feel necessary to her to “push to keep Zach.”
In her exit interview with Parade, Swati reiterated her dismay at having to eliminate Zach so early, and said that it was difficult for her to throw his name out so quickly. “Zach is such an amazing person,” she said. “That’s definitely a decision that I very much regret in this game … Not only did I not do anything to stop it, [but] that was one of the two names that I had thrown out to Rocksroy. [So] to then be stuck on this tribe with mostly older people was not it for me.”
In an ET Canada interview with “Survivor 41” winner Erika Casupanan, Swati also said that, along with Rocksroy, the person she would be rooting for most is Zach, even though he has already been eliminated. “Like, if I had a time machine, [and] I could bring Zach back,” she responded when asked who she was rooting for, “Zach!”
Zach Was Still Rooting for Swati After His Own Elimination
In exit interviews, Zach has said that, out of the whole tribe, he was most surprised by Swati’s gunning for him, in part because they had developed such a close bond on the island. “The most surprising part of the episode for me was seeing Swati so quickly throw my name out there,” Zach told Parade shortly after the episode aired. “We were working very closely. We bonded very close. I definitely had her back in a way that I don’t think that she had mine out there.”
However, Zach has also reciprocated many of the feelings Swati has expressed for him. In his own ET Canada interview with Casupanan, Zach also mentioned that Swati was one of the people he was rooting for the most, in part because of their friendship. “I think that from my tribe,” he told her, “I’m definitely rooting for Swati. I definitely think that she’s an awesome person, and I really can’t wait to see everything [play out].”
Of course, Zach knew at the time of the interview that Swati would be eliminated, not least because they would meet up at Ponderosa less than a week after he was eliminated. Nonetheless, it is safe to assume he was rooting for her in that intermediate time.
Since the season has begun airing, Swati and Zach have even engaged in some playful banter online. After Maryanne Oketch’s revelation that she had a crush on Zach, Swati then posted a tweet in which she asked her followers whether he should go out with herself or Maryanne – a post Zach then re-tweeted.
Tune into “Survivor 42” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on CBS to find out how – or whether – Ika will continue to function. The season finale airs Wednesday, May 25, 2022.