UCSD's Delurgio is an Olympic hopeful

    Every time the Olympics come around, how often do you find yourself trying to brag to someone that you’re somehow connected to an athlete competing?

    “”Uh Š Michelle Kwan is my sister’s friend’s boyfriend’s cousin’s suitemate.””

    Hopefully by 2006, every single UCSD students will be able to brag about a connection they have to one athlete in particular: “”Hey, I went to UCSD with her.”” Meet Rosanna Delurgio.

    Although quiet in demeanor, Delurgio has been raising eyebrows across the nation for quite some time. The eight-time All-American swimmer currently holds the NCAA Division II record in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke with times of 1 minute, 1.88 seconds and 2:15.8, respectively. The John Muir College junior has already qualified for the Olympic Trials and will compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic swim team in the 200-meter breaststroke this July in Long Beach, Calif.

    She is not only known as a tough competitor on the collegiate scene, but on the national radar as well. Last June, Delurgio was featured in the “”Faces in the Crowd”” section of Sports Illustrated magazine.

    The Santa Cruz, Calif., native has been swimming competitively for the past 11 years. Even with many years of swimming experience, she still finds the past three years with UCSD’s swim team to be particularly fulfilling.

    “”I’ve had the opportunity to swim for amazing coaches and with an amazing team which really does act as my family here in San Diego,”” Delurgio said. “”It is definitely a unique experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything ‹ even an athletic scholarship.””

    The team typically meets nine times a week to practice if there is no meet and eight times a week if there is one.

    “”Swimming is very addictive once you find that you love it,”” Delurgio said. “”Every athlete has a bit of a burn-out, especially after such a long season like swimming. But I’m surrounded by truly inspiring people who are extremely enthusiastic. It is contagious, and that makes it very difficult to get tired of swimming. They constantly challenge me to be a better person in and out of the water, and I love being a part of it.””

    On Jan. 10, Delurgio placed second in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle event against Division I University of Utah. Due to an injury, however, she was unable to compete in either the 100- or 200-yard breaststroke ‹ her specialty events. A few weeks before, on Dec. 20, Delurgio posted a 1:05.87 in the 200-yard breaststroke to win that event against Northern Arizona University.

    Perhaps the biggest highlight of Delurgio’s swimming career was at the NCAA Championships in North Dakota last year when her 400-yard freestyle relay team beat Drury University, landing the UCSD squad in third place.

    “”The moment when we all saw the scoreboard and saw how close it came down to, we were ecstatic at the results. I’ve never been so proud to be a swimmer,”” she said.

    An expert on swimming’s tough training regime, Delurgio believes her sport is different than most competitive sports.

    “”Swimming is definitely one of the most challenging sports on both the mind and body,”” Delurgio said. “”I’m not just saying that because I do it, but because I don’t really know of many other sports that require you to train year-round and at such a high level for almost the entirety of it.””

    Although the sport itself is individually based, the UCSD swim team is not just a group of swimmers winning for themselves. It is described by many as a “”family”” and support group.

    “”This team is very strongly united,”” UCSD swimming head coach Scott McGihon said. “”There is no one person who is more important than another. Everyone’s out to help the other. In Rosanna’s case, she is an inspiration to the younger swimmers. She’s a hard worker, and that makes everyone else want to keep up.””

    When the regular season comes to a close, Delurgio will be facing the competition at the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., and afterward she’ll be striving to achieve her goal of becoming an Olympic athlete.

    Get to know her face really well, folks: you could be bragging about her in the next Olympics.

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