February 2014 (3) Candygrams

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Friday, February 21, 2014---The Dedication of the Uytengsu Aquatics Center

Rod Nakamoto, Carol Fox, and Grace ShibaJohn KatnikJim and I arrived early for the dedication of the new Uytengsu Aquatics Center. We were able to get front row seats near the podium, and they were in the shade too. As Trojan Candy walked to a table to get some ice water, I saw three friends talking to one another. They were Rod Nakamoto, USC Trustee Carol Fox and Grace Shiba. I saw Rod and Grace in Honolulu last August when our Trojans beat the Rainbows in football. So nice to see them again. On the way back to my seat I saw an old friend. John Katnik (8/26/2011) smiled for yours truly. John played football at USC for two years. He now works in football recruiting. FIGHT ON again, John!

Spirit of TroyThen I heard them march in. The Spirit of Troy had arrived!

Fred Uytengsu FamilyNow it was time to start the Dedication Ceremony. The first speaker was Athletic Director Pat Haden. He introduced Coach Peter Daland and his wife Ingrid (5/1/2010). Then he introduced the Fred Uytengsu Family.

The next speaker was Provost and Senor Vice President for Academic Affairs, Elizabeth Garrett. Elizabeth GarrettShe gave a word of advice to all the current USC swimmers, divers and water polo players in the audience. Provost Garrett quoted Olympian Mark Spitz in her closing statement. "It has nothing to do with swimming. That is just my sport. It's just trying to see how far I can go."

Chase BlochThe 2014 Men's Swimming Team Co-Captain Chase Bloch spoke on behalf of the student athletes. He said, "Fred, you have sharpened us all." FIGHT ON, Chase!

The last speaker was Fred Uytengsu. He came to the podium with a big smile and with much applause. Fred UytengsuFred thanked his coach, Peter Daland, and his wife Ingrid for their mentorship. He announced that the pool is named for Coach Daland and the Women of Troy Locker Room is named in honor of Ingrid. Fred then thanked USC athletes for traveling to the Philippines after the destructive typhoon to deliver 40,000 meals to the needy. He congratulated the swimmers and water polo athletes for having the highest GPA of all the USC athletes. What an accomplishment! Fred then told us four reasons why he donated eight million dollars to renovate the swim stadium. They are as follows:

  1. To instill a source of pride
  2. To make it a special experience
  3. To encourage more USC Alumni to give back
  4. To make it easy for recruits to say, "Where do I sign?"

On a personal note, Fred said that he met his wife at USC, and that he was a "bum" when he was an undergrad at USC. Fred explained that the "stars" were the scholarship athletes and the "bums" were the walk-ons. He finished with this statement, "I love the smell of chlorine in the morning. It smells like...VICTORY!" FIGHT ON, Fred!

Ribbon cuttingNow, for the ribbon cutting!

Michelle Mercado and Maddie SchragerAfter the ribbon was cut, all the guests, including yours truly, rushed into the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The first sight was awesome!
Trojan Candy asked two Women of Troy Water Polo players for directions. Thanks and FIGHT ON, Michelle Mercado! Thanks and FIGHT ON, Maddie Schrager!

Jordan Gear
I went first to the Men's Locker Room to find Jim's and my locker. On the way into the locker room, Trojan Candy saw a friend. He is a diver at USC. Jordan Gear (11/16/2012) posed for his picture in front of his locker. Thank you and FIGHT ON, Jordan!
Pat and Dudley Poon
Trojan Candy first found the water polo locker that belongs to my sister Pat and brother-in-law Dudley Poon. Tommy Van is using their locker. FIGHT ON, Tommy!
Jim Yee
Next, I found our locker! Rex Butler is using our locker. FIGHT ON, Rex!
Trojan Candy
The 2013 Championship poster was at the end of our locker row. FIGHT ON, Men's Water Polo!
Jovan Vavic Trojan Lounge
Located between the Women's Locker Room and the Men's Locker Room was the Jovan Vavic Trojan Lounge.
Left mural
This is a better view of the left mural.
Right mural
This is a better view of the right mural.
Rebecca Soni
Then, to my surprise, there was USC Olympian Rebecca Soni (9/30/2011) standing right in front of me! She graciously posed for this picture.
West end
I stepped out of the Vavic Player's Lounge to take these panoramic pictures of the Center. At the west end is the Swim with Mike Event Room on the first floor. On the second floor are coaches offices.
North side
This is the north side next to Lyon Center. Notice the seating on the upper level.
East end
At the east end is the Morgan Training Center with the Sammy Lee Dive Tower on the right.
South side
This is the south side with more seating. The lockers and Players Lounge on the pool level. Notice the USC Men's Swim Team warming up for the upcoming match versus Utah.
West end
Another view of the west end from the east.

Directly across from the Vavic Player's Lounge on the north wall are the Men's and Women's Swim and Dive Records.

Men's Dive records
Men's Dive records.
Men's Swim records
Men's Swim records.
Men's and Women's Swim records.
Women's Swim records
Women's Swim records.
Women's Dive records
Women's Dive records.

What a heritage! 23 National Championships! 1,139 All-Americans! 146 Olympic Medals! Over 200 Olympians! FIGHT ON, Men's Swimming and Diving! FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Swimming and Diving!

As Trojan Candy walked to the reception in the Swim With Mike Event Room, I saw friends along the way and met a new friend.

Anna Liberovsky and Kyent Chin
Anna Liberovsky and Kyent Chin (9/16/2011).
Peter Daland and Chip Furniss
Coach Peter Daland and Chip Furniss
Don Ludwig and Jim Yee
At the reception, Trojan Candy took pictures of Don Ludwig and Jim.
Rebecca Soni
Rebecca Soni signing my sister Pat's book The Trojan Way.
Mrs. Sammy Lee
Mrs. Sammy Lee
Jovan Vavic and Pat Poon
Coach Vavic also autographed Pat's book.

Haley IshimatsuThen, Trojan Candy saw another familiar face. She was current USC diver Haley Ishimatsu. I had interviewed Haley's older sister Tory Ishimatsu (9/16/2011) in Heritage Hall. Trojan Candy was determined to interview Haley. When I asked her, luckily she said that I could!

Sammy Lee Dive TowerHaley is a Junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Forensics and Criminology. She told me that she trains all year. Then she pointed to the Sammy Lee Dive Tower. When Trojan Candy looked at the dive tower, I saw that there was no diving board. Haley said that she has been practicing at ucla since the reconstruction began. When asked if she has any hobbies, Haley said that she doesn't really have any hobbies but that she loves Rock and Alternative music. She also loves to go to music concerts. Thank you Haley for the interview and FIGHT ON!

Fred UytengsuAs Trojan Candy left the reception area, I went to the table to pick up a t-shirt. Every USC swimmer, diver and water polo player was given one also. Just as I was thanking Fred Uytengsu in my head for making his unbelievable contribution for the stadium renovation, there he was walking toward me! My sister Pat ran up to him to ask him to sign her book. Naturally, I took his picture! We spoke for a while...he was very congenial and genuine. After all, he is a Trojan! Thank you and FIGHT ON, Fred!

The last place we toured was the Coaches' offices on the second floor of the west side of the complex. As Jim, Pat and I (we somehow lost Dudley) walked through Coach Vavic's office we saw them on tables and on the floor. There were many men's and women's water polo trophies! Trojan Candy snapped away.

Coach Vavic's office
Coach Vavic's office.
National Championship trophies
National Championship water polo trophies. 2003 Men, 2004 Women, and 2005 Men.
National Championship trophies
More National Championship water polo trophies. 2012 Men, 2010 Men, 2009 Men, and 2008 Men.

Casey MoonAs I walked out of Coach Vavic's office, I say Coach Casey Moon standing in his office. When we were volunteering in Heritage Hall, Coach Casey would always come by and say, "Hello" at the desk. He invited us into his office and talked with us for a while about winning the 6th Championship in a row. 2012 London OlympicsI told him to check out my blog because my family and I attended the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship at Stanford in December 2013 (12/7/2013, 12/8/2013). He said that he would! FIGHT ON, Coach Casey!

The office lobby was beautiful. A mural pictured Trojans in swimming and water polo in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Rebecca Soni's Olympic Gold Medal was displayed nearby with her quote, "It's a thrill like no other to compete for your country, Rebecca Soni's gold medalyour school and your family! You must trust in the hard work you've put in and believe in the team surrounding you."

MuralAs Trojan Candy left the offices, I exited through USC Swimming Coach Dave Salo's Office. On his wall was a mural of famous Trojan swimmers Lenny Krazelburg, Katinka Hosszu, Erik Vendt, and Rebecca Soni.

Pat and Dudley went on to Galen Center for the Women of Troy Basketball game versus Stanford.

Bruce Furniss Jim and I walked over to the Olympian Tribute Wall at the Rooftop Patio. Why? We went to meet Heritage Hall Medallion recipient, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Furniss! Luckily, he was still there with his family. What an honor it is to meet any Heritage Hall Medallion recipient! The three of us spoke for a short time. Bruce had already received his two medallions in Swimming. Then, he posed for a picture. Thank you, Bruce and FIGHT ON!

Olympian Tribute Wall
This is part of the Olympian Tribute Wall on the Rooftop Patio.
Now it was time for Jim and Trojan Candy to go to the Galen Center. As we walked to the elevator, I took a picture of the scoreboard.
Swim meet
I took a picture of the upcoming swim meet with Utah.

Just before we reached the elevator, the "Star Spangled Banner" started playing.

Sammy Lee and family As we stood honoring our country, Trojan Candy saw him and his family doing the same. As soon as the music ended, I ran over to Dr. Sammy Lee, two time Diving gold medalist in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. He and some of his family posed for this picture. I gave him my Trojan Candy card, and he gave me his business card. What a souvenir! FIGHT ON, Sammy!

What a memorable day! What a remarkable aquatics center! What a day to be a Trojan!