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Reedy and Ryan

usc-mens-swimming-diving-utah-2017-mcgillen-1708.jpgOn Saturday, USC senior Reed Malone will don the Trojan swim cap for the very last time.

The Winnetka, IL native started off his final NCAA Championship run with a bang on Wednesday, helping teammates Dylan Carter, Patrick Mulcare and Santo Condorelli secure a school record in the 800y free relay, earning a fifth place finish and an All-American award.

Malone can now call himself a six-time All-American, five-time Pac-12 champion, and two-time NCAA Champion, with more accolades potentially on the horizon as competition continues this weekend.

But perhaps no honor defines Malone's character better than his election as the only three-time captain in program history.

Malone believes that since arriving at Troy, his trust in his teammates has fostered their trust in him as a leader.

"I believe in other people," he said. "And I value other people's opinions and other people's skills. I think a lot of people get too worked up about doing stuff on their own, but I value the people around me and what they have that I don't."

Malone said that growing up, his family instilled these ideals in him, helping him "accept other people for however they come" and learn things from other people to make himself better.

Malone's brother, Ryan, was hugely influential in those regards. Ryan (pictured, middle) is 24 -- two years and a month older than Reed -- and he has autism. He struggles with verbal and social skills, and has the propensity to get anxious and act out in public.

Though Reed has been in the middle of a few difficult situations with Ryan, he's always made the best of them, and has translated those experiences directly into his time as a team captain at USC. Dealing with Ryan's outbursts taught Reed to "stay calm in pressure situations and just relax," and dealing with Ryan's limited verbal skills forced Reed to learn to read people without them directly expressing their feelings -- two skills that have surely helped him lead his team for the past three years.

IMG_4491.JPG"The more I think about my good qualities, they come from being around Ryan," says Reed.

It can be difficult at times to connect through conversation, but Reed and Ryan have bonded during their time in the pool together. Ryan swam on the Special Olympics team in high school, and still swims competitively from time to time. When Reed visits home, he gets in the pool with Ryan and helps him with his stroke, which motivates him to swim much faster.

"He's not Michael Phelps or anything, but he's not bad," says Reed of his older brother, who's competing in a Special Olympics meet this weekend at the same time as NCAAs.

While the brothers have both been involved in swimming since they were young, Reed says Ryan has never fully understood the level at which he competes, but that he enjoys attending Reed's meets and cheering him on.

Reed recalls a moment in his teenage years when he realized how much swimming could mean for him and Ryan.

"When I was 14, I had an age group state meet and I won a bunch of events -- it was pretty cool. I got all these medals and I put them in my bag. I got home from the meet and my dad had coached Ryan to say, 'Oh, good job, Reedy' -- he calls me Reedy. He heard the medals jingling in my bag, and I took them out, and was like, 'Do you want to put them on?' and he just smiled. So I put them on, and the smile on his face when he had them around his neck -- I'll never, ever forget that. A huge reason why I swim is if I can bring that much joy to someone who's so important to me, just by swimming up and down a pool, it makes it that much better. I enjoy the sport as it is, but if I can make him so happy by being relatively successful ... it's really special."

Trojans Grab Bronze

Behind winning performances by senior Steven Stumph and sophomore Carsten Vissering, USC men's swim team finished third in this weekend's Pac-12 Tournament.

No. 13 USC finished behind No. 5 Stanford and No. 1 Cal at the championships after winning the title last season.

Stumph, a co-captain, finished the weekend strong by becoming the first Trojan to ever three-peat in the 200y breast. His time of 1:53.08 helped him become the seventh 200y breast winner in USC history.

Before Stumph wrote his name in the record books, Vissering brought home USC's first title in the 100y breast since 2003. He improved upon his second-place finish last year to finish in 51.45 seconds, nearly a full second ahead of the runner-up.

The Trojans now enjoy a two-week break in competition before shipping out to Indianapolis for the NCAA Championships from March 22-25.

Swim Along

Just a week after USC's women's team placed third at the Pac-12 Championships, USC men's swim heads to Federal Way, WA to make its mark on the conference tournament beginning tomorrow.

Click here for the full preview!

The No. 13 Trojans have their work cut out for them, facing the likes of No. 1 Cal, No. 5 Stanford, No. T-15 ASU and No. T-15 Arizona.

After finishing second at Pac-12s last year, the Trojans have high expectations. They return Olympians Dylan Carter and Santo Condorelli, who redshirted last season to train for the Rio Games, and were key parts of USC's conference title in 2015.

Carter has posted three NCAA A cuts so far this season, in the 100y free, 200y free and 100y fly. He enters the tournament as the top seed in both freestyle races.

Should Carter win any of these events at the Pac-12 Championships, he'll extend USC's streak of winning at least one individual event in each of the last 20 years.

USC returns all four of its individual Pac-12 champions from last season. Senior co-captain Steven Stumph also has a chance to help USC extend its streak when he tries to three-peat in the 200y breast, while Reed Malone looks to repeat in the 2007 and 500y free, and Ralf Tribuntsov and Patrick Mulcare look to do the same in the 100y and 200y back, respectively.

The Trojans go for glory starting tomorrow. The competition will be streamed on and the Pac-12 Now app and will be broadcast on select Pac-12 Networks starting at 6:30 a.m.

21 Pilots

Heading into the 2016-17 season, representatives from each of USC's 21 sports met on top of the AT&T Center for the annual "All 21" photo shoot. The AT&T Center, just two miles from campus, overlooks the skyline of downtown Los Angeles, where the Trojans call home.

Top row, from left to right: Nick Bell (men's water polo), Nina Kelty (lacrosse), Rebekah Ent (cross country), Anika  Apostalon (women's swimming), Eric Sloan (men's track & field), Courtney Jaco (women's basketball), Karen Chung (women's golf), Lucas Yoder (men's volleyball), Reed Malone (men's swimming), Brianna Daboub (women's water polo), Sara Hughes (beach volleyball), Jeremy Martinez (baseball)

Bottom row, from left to right: Zach Banner (football), Zoe Katz (women's tennis), Jordan McLaughlin (men's basketball), Amalie Iuel (women's track & field), Madara Strautmane (rowing), Nick Crystal (men's tennis), Collin Pollard (men's diving), Taylor Whittingham (women's volleyball), Savannah Levin (women's soccer), Sean Crocker (men's golf), Madison Witt (women's diving)

The Pride of Tunisia

Five-time Olympian Ous Mellouli became the 13th Trojan to serve as the flag bearer for his or her nation at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has drenched his nation in glory over his swimming career, and Tunisia returned the favor by having Mellouli lead his nation's athletes out last night in Rio.

GettyImages-586316656 Mellouli.jpg(Photo via Getty Images)

#USC2RIO: Vladimir Morozov

The countdown is complete to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and once again, USC will be represented by a roster of Trojans that would match most countries. Time to unveil your USC Olympians...

Name: Vladimir Morozov

Country: Russia

Events: Men's Swimming 50m and 100m Free, 4x100m Freestyle Relay, 4x100m Medley Relay

Vladimir Morozov has had his "Fight On" spirit tested in the last few weeks. The Russian sprinter qualified to swim four events in Rio, but he was then banned by the International Swimming Federation for being included in the World Anti-Doping Agency's report on state-sponsored doping in Russia.

He appealed both on social media and to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which upheld his claim and cleared him to participate in the Olympic Games. Morozov will look to add to his accomplishments from London 2012, where he helped Russia win bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Morozov is USC's top sprinter ever, owning the school records in the 50y and 100y freestyle. He won three NCAA titles as a Trojan in 2013 (50y free, 100y free and 4x100y free relay).


#USC2RIO: Cristian Quintero

The countdown is on to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and once again, USC will be represented by a roster of Trojans that would match most countries. Time to unveil your USC Olympians...

Name: Cristian Quintero

Country: Venezuela

Events: Men's Swimming 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m Freestyle

Trojans already know Cristian Quintero has the ability to completely dominate a meet. In his final season at USC, he carried the program to its first conference championship since 1979, winning 2015 Pac-12 Championships Swimmer of the Meet.

With a busy schedule in Rio, he will hope to do the same for Venezuela. The Caracas native will swim four freestyle events, showing his world class sprinting ability.

At USC, Quintero was a 17-time All-American and captured six NCAA titles. He was a seven-time Pac-12 individual champion who also swam on seven conference relay titles. He is among USC's top 2 fastest ever in the 100y, 200y and 500y free and among the top 7 in the 50y, 1000y and 1650y free.

Quintero will be competing in his second Olympics. He swam in three races at the 2012 Olympics in London, taking 16th in the 400m free, 22nd in the 200m free and 15th in the 400m free relay.


#USC2RIO: Ous Mellouli

The countdown is on to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and once again, USC will be represented by a roster of Trojans that would match most countries. Time to unveil your USC Olympians...

Name: Ous Mellouli

Country: Tunisia

Events: Men's Swimming 1500m Free and 10k Open Water Marathon

Mellouli goes into his fifth Olympics as one of the most decorated active Olympians for the Trojans. He brought home at least one medal from his last two tries, capturing gold in the 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 10k marathon at London 2012 as well as bronze in the 1500m free four years ago.

Now, the 32-year-old will take aim at double gold in Rio, but even that might not be his proudest moment. For the Opening Ceremonies, which begin in one week, Mellouli will carry the Tunisian flag. He carried the flag for his country at the Closing Ceremonies in London.

Mellouli first competed in the Olympics as a 16-year-old at Sydney 2000. By qualifying for his fifth Olympics, he joins Jamaican track legend Don Quarrie in second place behind fencer Janice Lee York Romary (6) for most appearances by a Trojan.


#USC2RIO: Santo Condorelli

The countdown is on to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and once again, USC will be represented by a roster of Trojans that would match most countries. Time to unveil your USC Olympians...

Name: Santo Condorelli

Country: Canada

Events: Men's Swimming 50m and 100m Free, 100m Fly, 4x100m Free and 4x100m Medley Relays

Santo Condorelli was made for the international stage. The USC swimmer was born in Japan, raised in Oregon, prepped in Florida and competes for Canada (his mother's native country).

He will take his diverse background and several nations of support to Rio 2016 for his first Olympic Games. Condorelli plans on making the experience count by qualifying to swim in five different events.

The 21-year-old finished first in the 100m free and second in the 200m free at the Canadian Olympic Trials, but he was disqualified from the 100m butterfly competition for a non-simultaneous touch. However, he came back to set the national record in the 100m fly at a meet last month in Indianapolis, which prompted Canada to make him the team's only entrant in Rio for the event.

Before this Olympics, Condorelli was best known for his obscene, but loving gesture to his father before every race. The idea behind it is that despite his relative lack of size for the sport, he refuses to be intimidated by the competition.

"I was always taught to relax behind the blocks," Condorelli said. "Not to get too tense or excited, it's just a constant reminder for me to reflect on what I've done in the past, how I've been training, how I've been putting in the work. Yeah these guys might be doing the same but I know I'm better than everybody else I'm about to race."


#USC2RIO: Tim Wynter

The countdown is on to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and once again, USC will be represented by a roster of Trojans that would match most countries. Time to unveil your USC Olympians...

Name: Tim Wynter

Country: Jamaica

Event: Men's Swimming 100m Backstroke

Fresh off a successful first season at USC, Tim Wynter will get a taste of the summer Olympics. The top sprint backstroker in Jamaican history will represent his country in the 100m back at Rio 2016.

Wynter, who is top 10 in Trojan history in the 100y back, has a wealth of international experience despite his young age, 20. He has competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, the 2013 FINA Junior World Championships and the 2012 Short Course World Championships.


#USC2RIO: Dylan Carter

The countdown is on to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and once again, USC will be represented by a roster of Trojans that would match most countries. Time to unveil your USC Olympians...

Name: Dylan Carter

Country: Trinidad & Tobago

Events: Men's Swimming 100m Free, 200m Free and 100m Fly

USC redshirt junior Dylan Carter has a busy schedule in Rio, swimming three events for his native Trinidad & Tobago. Carter sat out last season to train for his first Olympics after an outstanding sophomore campaign in which he earned four All-American honors.

In 2015, Carter swam on a pair of NCAA-winning teams as part of USC's 800y free relay and 400y free relay. He also was an important contributor to the Trojans first conference team title since 1979.

For the small nation of Trinidad & Tobago (population 1.3M), Carter was the only member of his national team to make a semifinal at the 2015 World Championships. He is one of two T&T swimmers to qualify for Rio, joining Olympic veteran George Bovell.


Trojans in Business: Matt Oka

Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

image2.JPGName: Matt Oka

Resume: Financial Planning and Analyst at Boeing

Sport at USC: Swimming

Caroline Deisley (CD): What inspired you to join Boeing?

Matt Oka (MO): I actually met a Boeing recruiter at the Marshall spring job reception, and then I don't know. I had never considered working in aerospace, but it sounded really, really interesting... all the different kind of satellites and planes that they build. It just so happened that the recruiter is from Corona Del Mar, and I went to high school in Newport Beach so we hit it off and then before I knew it I had a job there.

CD: So, on a day-to-day basis what does your general day look like?

MO: I'm in the office down in El Segundo, which is the world's largest satellite factory, and I am responsible for managing the overhead budgets and something called the labor rate for all of our satellite programs. To describe, the way that government contracts work most of our customers are government officials. They submit a proposal and then they want a bunch of contractors to submit them a bid. We bill them based on the dollar per hour per employee, so there's all sorts of compliance issues with the government. Basically, you have to manage this labor rate so that it doesn't go up and down more than like five percent, otherwise we have to resubmit everything to the government because it's full disclosure. It can be challenging because if an unexpected mess comes up that can really increase your rate. So, you have to manage it down in other areas so you don't have to resubmit a full on new cost proposal to the government, which as I'm sure you can imagine can take a long time to get approval for those.

CD: You began in the rotational program right?

MO: Yes, I began in the rotational program where I did three different finance functions. I did contracts administration, scheduling and business operations for one year each. My second rotation, business operations, is what I really enjoyed doing and I really liked that manager. I learned a lot from him. So, after my rotation was up he hired me full-time in his department and I've been there for the last two years.

CD: What would you say is the most important thing you learned from getting all of those different experiences in that program?

MO: I learned how in a really, really big company all of the pieces fit together and what each department or function affects all the other different functions. You can't really work in just your silo you have to collaborate among all the different functions whether it's finance or engineering. I think rotating through three different jobs in three years at the same company gives you a broader perspective of how everything works.

CD: That really helps. What would you say if you were to look back at your time at USC and give yourself one piece of advice?

MO: Keep going to the 90 (laughs). I don't know. I definitely wished I tried a littler harder in some of my classes.

CD: What did you learn through growing up and being a competitive swimmer that you still use today?

MO: Just that fight every day. Never settling. Don't get complacent. You can get complacent in your job, it happens to a lot of people. Just always be competitive and find your way whether you are increasing your performance in swimming or performance at work just never stop competing.

CD: Who would you say were some of your mentors here at USC?

MO: I really liked a professor by the name of Sandy Green. He taught rhetorical finance and that class changed my perspective on the economy markets and finance in general. Also, having the support of the Swim with Mike family has been absolutely instrumental in my success, both at USC and at Boeing.

CD: Finally, what's next? Where do you yourself going?

MO: So, I would really really like to train for Tokyo 2020 and compete in the Paralympic Games. It's a bit difficult working the 9-5 so I wasn't able to do it for Rio, but the couple of times I have gotten back into the water I felt like I could possible be competitive enough to earn a spot on the team. As far as my career, I definitely want to return to USC and get my MBA sometime in the near future.

A Very Sweet Sweep

For the first time since 1997, USC men's swimming swept Cal and Stanford, punctuating the team's final two home dual meets of the season last weekend. The No. 12 Trojans, led by phenomenal performances from three underclassmen in both meets, upset the No. 2 Bears and No. 10 Cardinal to give them a surge of momentum heading into the final stretch of the season.

Click here for a complete recap of the Trojans' nail-biting victory over the Bears.

And click here for a complete recap of USC's upset over Stanford.

The Trojans kicked off their winning weekend on Friday, besting Cal for the first time since 2000 by just one point (149.5-148.5) in a meet that came down to the final 25 yards of the 200y free relay. The epic finish came courtesy of freshman Kyle Grissom, whose anchor leg comeback propelled USC to the wall just .04 seconds ahead of the Bears.

"This was a transformational meet for us," said head coach Dave Salo after USC's gutsy performance. "I'm really proud of these guys. They stayed in the meet all the way through. They never gave up and have really matured coming off last year's Pac-12 win."

Fellow underclassmen, sophomore Pawel Furtek and freshman Carsten Vissering, also aided in the Trojans' victory, with Furtek winning both the 1000y free and 500y free and Vissering breaking the pool record to win the 100y breast in 54.21.

On Saturday, the Trojans secured another upset victory, topping Stanford, 167-133, for an 8-1 overall record and a 4-0 record in conference. Freshman Patrick Mulcare snagged three first place wins in the 100y back, 200y back and 200y IM, while Furtek once again won the 1000y and 500y free races. USC also swept the 3m diving events for the second meet in a row.

The Trojans finish the regular season against Utah in Salt Lake on February 20. Be sure to follow @USCswim for behind-the-scenes access to both the USC men's and women's swimming teams as they inch closer to postseason competition.

Check out the SnappyTV highlights from the Trojans' upset over Cal on Friday...

Swimming's Desert Sweep

Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The USC men's and women's swimming teams kicked off a road trip to the desert by sweeping Arizona State last Friday. The men, led by sophomores Pawel Furtek and Jon Knox, topped the Sun Devils, 159-132, while the women bested ASU, 178-106 thanks to outstanding performances by junior Chelsea Chenault (200y fly, 500y free), sophomore Hannah Weiss (100y back, 200y back) and freshman Riley Scott (100y breast, 200y breast).

Click here for a complete recap of the dual meets.

On Saturday, the Women of Troy defeated Arizona, 156-144, with junior Anika Apostalon winning the 50y free, 100y free and leading off the clinching 200y free relay. Meanwhile, the men's team lost its first meet of the year in a 172-126 Wildcat victory. The Trojan women are now 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the Pac-12 this season while the men's squad is 5-1 overall and 1-1 in conference. 

This season, the Trojan men are coming off of their first conference title since 1979 and their second fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships in the last three years. Similarly successful on the national stage, the Women of Troy are coming off of an eighth place finish at the NCAA Championships and a third place finish at the Pac-12s.

Next up for USC is the Trojan Diving Invitational at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center November 13-15.

Golden Sweep

Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Former USC swimmer Katinka Hosszu dominated the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, finishing with two gold medals in hand after sweeping both the 200 and 400 individual medleys along with a bronze medal in the 200m back. The Hungary native clinched her second first-place finish on Sunday with a 400 IM time of 4:30.39 after setting a new world record of 2:06.12 to win gold in the 200 IM. The Iron Lady broke a world record that was set in 2009 by Ariana Kukors that no one imagined would be touched any time soon.  

Hosszu was just one of 12 former or current USC swimmers competing at the World Championships with Chelsea Chenault (800m free relay) being the only other Trojan to win a gold medal. Rising junior Reed Malone earned a silver medal for his performance in team USA's 800m free relay and junior Santo Condorelli received a bronze medal for Canada in the 400m mixed free relay. Wrapping up the medal count for former or current USC swimmers was Kendyl Stewart, who earned a silver medal with the USA 400m mixed medley relay team that broke a world record in the prelims, and was a two-time individual semifinalist at the championships. 

Photo of Hosszu via Getty Images

A Very Good Year

Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

With 16 teams finishing in the nation's Top 20 of their respective sports this year, USC clinched third in the 2014-15 Division I Directors' Cup standings, its highest finish ever. The Directors' Cup ranks programs based on their athletic performance over the course of the entire year.

For the complete standings and more information, click here.

USC finished with 1,209 points, awarded based on the school's finish in NCAA championships in up to 20 sports (10 women's and 10 men's). Of the 16 teams that finished in the Top 20, 12 finished in the Top 10 including men's golf and men's water polo which finished second, women's water polo, women's tennis and women's golf which placed third and men's swimming which finished fourth.

"Congratulations go to our students and coaches, who put in the hard work for this best-ever finish in the Directors' Cup," said USC athletic director Pat Haden. "We are very proud of them. This is a testament to the broad-based excellence of the Trojan athletic program."


Trojans in Business: Pieter Kranenburg

Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Name: Pieter Kranenburg

Resume: Spacecraft Flight Engineer at Boeing

Sport at USC: Swimming & Diving

Caroline Deisley (CD): First and foremost, can you explain what exactly you do?

Pieter Kranenburg (PK): (chuckles) It's an intense title. I am a spacecraft flight engineer at Boeing Satellite Development Center over in El Segundo. What that basically means is that I am in charge of flying spacecrafts that we build on site from the moment we launch them into space until the moment that we decommission them. My main responsibility is what's called on-orbit support which means keeping everything running smoothly and making sure all the equipment on board is working. If something breaks, we fix it or do the best we can down from the ground. I also do mission support, which is basically the first couple of weeks after you launch a spacecraft. You make sure that it is configured right and doing what it's supposed to do before we hand it over to the customer. 

CD: Wow that's fascinating. So what first sparked your interest in aerospace?

PK: I guess it's rooted back in high school. Math and science were just something that I was good at, and I'm a competitive guy so I picked the hardest-sounding thing to me at the time and went from there. As I went along, I found that I really enjoyed the subjects and it appealed to both my competitive and intellectual sides at the same time. 

CD: How hard was it to manage both the workload of an engineering major and be a competitive swimmer at USC?

PK: Being an engineer and being an athlete, specifically on the swim team, is not to be underestimated (chuckles). It's probably one of the toughest things I could have done in my experience at 'SC. I tell that to all the guys on the team, and I tell anyone that is doing it on any team, that I have a lot of respect for them because it's a lot of work. There are some engineering students who can't even handle being just an engineering student. It was tough and there were even some people that tried to do engineering and swimming before me and told me that it is just not doable. I guess I tried to break new ground and kids that are on the team now have seen that. It's not just myself, but I have a couple of classmates who were great engineers as well. We broke through in making the USC swim team also successful academically. 

CD: Was there ever any crossover that you noticed in engineering and swimming that helped you get where you are now?

PK: Yes. I really give all my success to anything that I do nowadays to swimming. I swam for 16 years and those 16 years were dedicated to one goal - to swim faster, touching the walls sooner than I did last time, etc. After so many years of doing that, you realize that there is a lot that goes into accomplishing that one goal. It really just built a framework of success that I've used now in engineering and the industry to really streamline my goals and what I need to do. You can get lost in the industry and get really spread thin. Swimming creates a process, and it gives you confidence that the process is working even without seeing direct results.  

CD: You mentioned a little bit about the course load, but maybe what was the one hardest part for you about balancing everything? 

PK: The hardest part really is time management - that's what it comes down to. There are only so many hours in the day. You're training 20 hours a week and then you've got five classes with some of them being more taxing than others. I remember junior year we have the class that weeds out all the people that aren't quite cut out to be engineers. It's a lab class and every week you have a lab and a report due on that lab the next week. I want to say that was minimum 15 hours a week just for that one class. If you didn't get started on it ahead of time then you weren't going to have it done. It's not something you are going to be able to do a couple days before. You really had to chip at it for the whole week. So it was those sorts of things where you just have to take a step back at the beginning of the week and say what do I need to do and what fits in around my swimming training. Then, you also have to set aside some time for fun. 

CD: Were you able to help out on any other projects related to engineering outside of your workload and practices?

PK: I was actually. At USC, I was involved in the Rocket Lab and also another group called the Space Research Center. It was really tough. I tried to show my face as much as possible but it was hard to show up as much as I liked. When I retired from swimming, I took all the time that I was giving to swimming and put it into those extracurricular engineering groups. 

CD: What was the process like after you retired from swimming? How did you transition into the real world?

PK: It was definitely a tough but exciting transition for me. All of a sudden, I had 20 more hours a week plus all the energy, so it was even more than that. My first thought was 'Okay. Take advantage of this. Apply this energy somewhere else and you will do pretty cool stuff.' The week after I stopped swimming I went to these extracurricular groups and told them 'Alright, I'm done with swimming I'm going to be here X amount of hours a week' and they really responded to that. I really enjoyed being able to spend more time in those design groups. I think having a new sort of team and something that I could apply my energy to really eased the transition. 

CD: And now, what is the best part of your job would you say?

PK: The best part of my job besides telling people my title (chuckles)... I like taking a step back and looking at what we are actually building. I like going through the factory and looking around. You see all these three-story tall satellites that are just incredible feats of engineering and when you think about it we're this site of 5,000 imperfect people that have to create this perfect machine that operates up in space for 15 to 20 years. For me, seeing all that come together is pretty fun. 

CD: So it's early in your career but what's next? What's on the horizon? Where do you want to go from here?

PK: Short term, I will be getting my master's degree in May. I've been doing that at night after work so I'm really excited about that. I'm going to stick with Boeing and continue to fly satellites for the next little bit. Then, my brother and I have a couple of business ideas that we are going to try and tackle. Ideally, I would like to create a vision that other people want to jump on board with and have fun with. I told my friends early in the year that my dream job is to build something cool with my friends so maybe I'll jump on that later down the road. 

Hungry for More

Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

It's been a season of firsts for the USC men's swimming and diving team. The Trojans won their first conference championship since 1979. Senior Cristian Quintero became the first Pac-12 swimmer ever to sweep the 100y, 200y and 500y free. And now, the team is looking to clinch its first top three NCAA finish since 1990.

For a complete USC men's swimming NCAA Championships preview, click here.

The 2015 NCAA Championships begin in Iowa City on Thursday, and USC is dead set on further raising the bar on its already stellar season. Thirteen swimmers and four divers will represent the Trojans at the meet where they will need to put forth the same phenomenal effort shown in the Pac-12 Championships in order to succeed on an even bigger stage.

Quintero, the defending NCAA champion in the 500y free, will lead USC in Iowa as the top seed in the 200y free, second seed in the 500y free and fourth seed in the 100y free. The All-American will also participate in several of the Trojans' relay teams which have been given high seeds as well.

Team-Swimming-15.jpg(Photo by Steven Stumph)

Human Energy Stories: Cristian Quintero

Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC men's swimming Cristian Quintero is as impressive in the classroom as he is in the pool. An impressive feat considering the senior is the defending NCAA champion in the 500y free and defending two-time co-champion in the 800y free relay.

A career 11-time All-American and five-time NCAA finalist, he is the school record-holder in the 200y free and a part of USC records in the 400y and 800y free relays. Recently, the Pac-12 Network featured Quintero in a student-athlete special highlighting his equally astounding accomplishments as a mathematics major.

To watch Quintero's interview on Trojans Live this January, click here.

First and Last

All-American senior swimmer Cristian Quintero returns to the program after a semester off just in time for the final home meet of the regular season for the men's team on Friday night at 6 p.m. against Wisconsin. The 500y freestyle NCAA champion highlights the Senior Night celebration which will also honor Chad Bobrosky, Dakota Hodgson, Sergio Lujan Rivera, Andrew Malone, Luca Spinazzola, and Cary Wright.

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The No. 13 Women of Troy (3-1) will also be taking on the Badgers at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. USC men's swimming and diving is undefeated (4-0) and ranked No. 16 in the nation.