Already a three-time
NCAA Championship participant, senior swimmer Julius Espiritu will be making
his fourth trip to the national meet next week as part of a 27-athlete (12 men,
15 women) UC San Diego contingent in Birmingham, AL. The Campbell, CA native
owns all-time UCSD top 10 times in both the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke
and was part of the school record 800 freestyle relay at last year's NCAA meet.
He's also one of the team captains and head coach Matt Macedo values what
Espiritu brings both in and out of the pool. "Julius was an incredible addition to this program and
will be greatly missed when he completes his senior season next week," said
Macedo. "He's grown as an athlete but even more as a leader since arriving in
the fall of 2009. He's naturally quiet, but he's always worked hard and since
becoming a captain after his sophomore year, his vocal leadership has really
complimented that hard work." On the eve of his final collegiate competition,
Espiritu took time to talk about the NCAA experience, his team and his time at
UC San Diego.
Q-What does it mean
to you, making a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships?
a lot to me, and makes me appreciate all of the hard work that I've put in
every year. It was my goal entering my first season to make Nationals all four
years and to do it is a great way to end my swimming career.
Q-You've been to
Canton, OH, San Antonio, TX and then Mansfield, TX for the national meet. Are
you looking forward to Birmingham, AL?
definitely looking forward to being in Birmingham, mostly because it will be a
totally new experience for me! Neither I nor anyone I have spoken to has been
to Birmingham before, so I am going into this with an open mind. I expect that
the food will be phenomenal, as it always is at nationals.
Q-What is your
fondest memory to date of the NCAA Championships?
night of nationals, the team goes out to dinner with the parents and alumni to
celebrate the end of the season. All of the graduating seniors give a farewell
speech, and last year's speeches were particularly emotional for me because I
had spent the last three years with that class and it was sad to see them done
with swimming. That is probably my fondest memory out of the pool. My fondest
memory in the pool would probably be during last year's 800 freestyle relay. It
was a rough race for me but we finished with a school record.
Q-The swimming &
diving team typically sends a sizeable contingent to the NCAAs-do you have any
interesting traditions associated with the national championships?
always gets together the Saturday morning before we leave to have breakfast as
a group, usually at the Canyon Vista dining hall. This serves as a "farewell"
for those who are leaving for nationals and as the final team gathering of the
season for those who didn't qualify.
We also have a tradition for the final session of the meet,
which is wearing Hawaiian shirts. Most teams at the meet are not from warm
areas, and wearing Hawaiian shirts allows us to be goofy and show off the fact
that we are tan and from a warm area of the country.
Q-What events are you
planning to swim this year? How would you describe your prospects in each?
year, I'm swimming the 200 and 400 medley relays, the 100 and 200 freestyles,
and the 100 backstroke. We always want to win relays, but a top three finish
would be solid. All of the seed times are really close, so the relays are up
for grabs. For my individual events, I'm seeded out of the top 16, but
hopefully I can drop some time and score some points.
Q-The men's team
finished second last year in Mansfield and the women were third. What kind of
results do you expect from this year's teams?
at the beginning of the season was to win a national championship, and that
hasn't changed. As long as we swim to our potential and swim as hard as we can,
we will do great and the season will be a success.
Q-Who would be an
individual on each team that your are excited to see perform in Birmingham?
men's side I'm most excited to see Adam Rice, a fellow senior, swim this year.
Every year he trains like a champ and then drops an insane amount of time at
nationals, which I know he will do this year. On the women's side I'm really
excited to see another fellow senior, Amber Tan, swim at nationals. She's been
having her best year training-wise and it showed at our dual meets and at
conference. Honestly I'm just really excited to see my fellow seniors dominate
at our last collegiate meet.
Q-Besides the caliber
of swimming, what else is different about the national meet compared to an
are many things that make nationals different from the average meet, but the
thing that is most salient to me is the presence of our alumni. We have people
who have been coming to nationals for decades as alumni, along with those who
have recently graduated, and their presence brings a whole new atmosphere of
support that helps us swim fast!
Q-You're one of
UCSD's team captains. As a senior, how do you approach that role and what do
you hope to provide for your teammates?
try to use my past experiences to lead the team. I have learned so much from
past captains and upperclassmen, and their actions have shaped the kind of
leader that I have become. So as a senior I try to lead by example and
hopefully provide a benchmark for the next generation of upperclassmen.
Q-What is the most
rewarding and most difficult aspect of being team captain?
that the most rewarding aspect of being one of the team captains is knowing
that my teammates trust me and look up to me enough to help lead them
throughout the season. There's really nothing too difficult about the job
though. I enjoy the team too much to take anything too seriously or find
Q-You've listed the
Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Lakers as your two favorite sports teams. Those
two don't usually go together. How does that work for you?
received this question many times in the past, and many people are quick to
label me as a bandwagon (most recently in reference to the Lakers since the Raiders
have been terrible). But the truth is, I've always been drawn to these teams
ever since I started watching sports. Neither of my parents really favored
sports teams, so I was free to choose my own favorites without any influence or
Q-You've been quoted
as saying you could eat pizza "your entire life." What's on your "go-to" pie
and where in San Diego can one find the best pizzas?
pizza is definitely meat lover's. When I was a kid I hated vegetables, so
naturally I went for meat lover's, and it's been my favorite ever since. The
best pizza that I've had by campus is Regents Pizzeria, but if you don't mind
the longer drive then I think Woodstock's Pizza in PB takes the cake. I could
definitely eat Woodstock's pizza for my entire life.
Q-As a psychology
major at UCSD's Sixth College you've got your eye on eventually being a
marriage and family counselor. What drew you to that field and what's been the
most interesting part of your studies?
too many people who have been affected by divorce and similar issues, and I
feel like I can really use my strengths in this field. The most interesting
part of my studies has definitely been the abnormal side of psychology, which
deals with clinical disorders and prevention strategies for those disorders.
Q-What is the
psychological profile of the average swimmer?
say that the average swimmer has high levels of motivation, with some anxiety
and confidence mixed in. What separates average swimmers from top-tier swimmers
is the ability to cope with the anxiety and replace that with monumental
amounts of confidence.
Q-Who has the most
interesting personality on the swimming & diving team?
going to have to pick one from the men's team and one from the women's team.
There are so many to choose from, but from the men's team I would have to pick
freshman Michael Leung. He does the best Bane (from the Dark Knight Rises) and
Steve Irwin voice impressions, and is just a silly guy overall. On the women's side,
I think senior Amber Tan has the most interesting personality. She's always the
one to lighten the mood during practice or meets by randomly dancing or singing
like no one's watching her.
Q-Looking back, what has been the most
gratifying aspect of your four years at UC San Diego?
a doubt the most gratifying aspect of my time at UCSD has been the friendships
I have made, especially with the people in my class. Our team is so close,
which is a product of the combined men's and women's programs, something that
not many teams have the luxury of doing. I have enjoyed every second of the
ride and I wouldn't change anything, even if I could.
Previous Q & A Articles
Kirsten Willmon (Softball) February 17, 2013
Sebastian Brady (Men's Volleyball) February 7, 2013
Daisy Feder (Women's Basketball) January 21, 2013
Craig Elsten (UCSD Athletics Broadcaster) January 14, 2013
Beth Dong (Women's Swimming & Diving) December 3, 2012
Tyler McGrath (Men's Basketball) November 15, 2012
Danielle Dahle (Women's Volleyball) October 26, 2012
Jessica Wi (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2012
Elena Inouye (Women's Cross Country) October 1, 2012
Josh Stiling (Men's Water Polo) September 15, 2012
Alec Arsht (Men's Soccer) August 28, 2012
Amber Hawthorne (Women's Volleyball) August 13, 2012
Kristin Jones (Women's Soccer Assistant Coach) June 24, 2012
Nick Howe (Men's Track & Field) May 13, 2012
Kris Lesovsky (Softball) March 16, 2012
Danny Susdorf (Baseball) March 6, 2012
Sarah Lizotte (Women's Water Polo) February 9, 2012
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball) January 31, 2012
Alex Henley (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 17, 2012
James McCann (Men's Basketball) December 29, 2011
Emily Osga (Women's Basketball) December 19, 2011
John Butler (Men's Water Polo) November 28, 2011
Lauren Demos (Women's Volleyball) November 8, 2011
Cory Wolfrom (Men's Soccer) October 26, 2011
Ellen Wilson (Women's Soccer) October 1, 2011
Brian Donohoe (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2011
Roxanne Brunsting (Women's Volleyball) August 19, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Vincent Nguyen (Tennis) July 1, 2011
Patti Gerckens (Softball) May 26, 2011
Blake Tagmyer (Baseball) May 11, 2011
Theresa Richards (Women's Track & Field) April 27, 2011
Austin West (Men's Tennis) April 17, 2011
Drew Lawyer (Men's Crew) April 11, 2011
Keith Okasaki (Men's Golf) March 26, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Hanalei Crowell (Women's Water Polo) March 5, 2011
Camille Gaito (Softball) February 23, 2011
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Christine Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009