Alumni return to UCSD for Homecoming

    UCSD alumni competed in the annual alumni athletic competitions on Saturday, marking the school’s 40th anniversary year, all-campus Open House and Homecoming weekend.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    The events, sponsored by the athletic department, took place in men’s and women’s soccer, swimming, water polo, volleyball, soccer and women’s crew. The day of festivities also included a reunion dinner honoring the 20th anniversary of the 1981 national championship women’s volleyball team.

    According to assistant swimming coach Dan Peck, over 20 swimming alums — some former national champions, All-Americans and school record-holders — showed up for their scheduled meet against the current Triton swimmers at Canyonview Pool.

    Any competitive atmosphere quickly disappeared as team members jumped in the pool during the races, poured ice onto swimmers’ heads, and turned the meet into a playful gala. So relaxed was the atmosphere that the individual times and results were not recorded.

    Chris Padfield
    Guardian

    “”It was definitely a fun atmosphere,”” Peck said. “”It’s out of respect that the people on the current team don’t beat the alumni. That’s what it’s about — it’s the alumni’s day.””

    John Flowers, a seven-time national champion and the school record-holder in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, competed in the festivites, as he has done every year since he graduated in 1994.

    “”We had a great time; we had fun,”” Flowers said. “”It’s fun to catch up with everybody, to just come back, see the new team and your old friends and to make sure no one has broken your records yet.””

    Alumni had a good time out of the water as well. At RIMAC Field, men and women alumni gathered for their annual soccer games. The teams played to a 0-0 tie in regulation and were tied 7-7 in penalty kicks before the game was stopped to give way to the women’s alumni soccer game.

    Scott Goodman, who played left back for the national championship team in 1993, was one of several players who returned to the field to participate in Homecoming.

    “”We had a lot of fun out there, seeing all the guys I played with and having my friends here, the guys I went to school with,”” Goodman said.

    According to Goodman, the annual competitions are a great way to keep in contact with one another.

    “”Last fall, we had a team that had about eight of us [from the national championship team] on the team together, so it was a great thing to keep together and see each other,”” Goodman said. “”A lot of us are having kids now, so things change, but we try to keep in touch as much as possible and this is a perfect way to do it.””

    Flowers, now the owner of a financial software company, says intercollegiate athletics build important skills that people need in order to be successful in the workforce.

    “”It teaches dedication to something, whether it be sports or work,”” Flowers said. “”It makes you goal-orientated. Working hard, dedication — getting what you want the old fashioned way.””

    Goodman also feels that his participation in athletics helped him build a foundation of values that he now applies to his everyday life.

    “”I got friendship, teamwork and learning how to work as a group and achieve a goal,”” Goodman said. “”Being able to do that and win a national title, you saw everything come together and you think about when we came here in August and we ended up winning the national title in November, and what we had to do to get there, the sacrifices — you learn how to apply that to everyday life, whether it be your family or your job.””

    Goodman, now a financial analyst residing in Mission Viejo, Calif., has noticed the strides the campus has made to advance the athletic program.

    “”I left in 1990, and I think it was 1991 or 1992 when they put the lights on the soccer field and had the ability to play night games,”” Goodman said. “”For the most part, we played on this field my last two years and it was day games only because we didn’t have the lights yet. That brings out bigger, better crowds, and as a player you get more into the game when you have a bigger crowd.””

    He said he believes Homecoming is valuable for current players because it gives them connections with people who have been in their shoes.

    “”I think that it’s very important,”” Goodman said. “”When you play the sport, you need that support. It shows the current players what they are going to see in the future [and] helps them understand what they’re doing — the sacrifices they make and the goal they’re trying to achieve. And what better person to understand than someone who’s been through it?””

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