Photo by: Jack Spitser

Always Plunging Forward, Graham Hauss Overcomes Illness and Injury

UC San Diego

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By Delaney Whittet

LA JOLLA, Calif. - Head down, long strokes, breathe. The rhythm of a swimmer is never broken. For Graham Hauss, who just completed his redshirt freshman season at the University of California San Diego, this statement stands true in and out of the water. After a season ending injury at Arizona State University and sickness at UC San Diego, Hauss continues to plunge forward. 

Before competing at the collegiate level, Hauss’ journey with competitive swimming began during junior high. He competed for Clovis Swim Club and Clovis High School, winning the state championship in the 4x50 freestyle relay as a sophomore and the 4x100 and 4x50 free relays as a junior.

“I’ve always been more partial to the water,” said Hauss. “I was the only kid in my family who didn’t do swim lessons, I just learned myself. I started doing water polo, but I just wanted to swim.”

Hauss committed to Arizona State University in the summer before his senior year of high school. During October of his first year at Arizona State, Hauss was box jumping when he suffered an osteochondral lesion in his knee.

The injury concluded Hauss’ training at Arizona State and he began talking to his former club swim coach, John Mcgough, about the prospect of transferring.

“I just missed California and I missed my family,” Hauss reflected. “I talked it over with my parents. I knew it was the right decision and my parents were very good about trusting me with that.” 

Hauss left Arizona State at the end of his first semester and began taking classes at Clovis Community College. After taking two more classes over the summer, he was able to come to UC San Diego in the fall of 2018.

“Everyone [at UC San Diego] is so down to earth,” Hauss said. “I like the sports community. It’s a whole different atmosphere without a football team. It helps us appreciate each other more because all the focus isn’t going into one sport.”

In his first season at UC San Diego, Hauss made the All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Second Team for his performances in the 500 free and 200 free at the conference competition. He also competed in the 400 medley relay, 100 and 200 free, and 200, 400, and 800 free relays at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships despite frequent stomach illness, which caused him to opt out of the 500 free. He was diagnosed with stomach inflammation shorty after.

“It was really fun to go to Nationals this year even though I couldn’t compete [to my full capacity],” said Hauss. “It was hard for me emotionally, but it was so cool to see my teammates rise to the occasion.”

Hauss’s perseverance is a quality that has been noticed by his peers, including senior captain Will Knox.

“It was always inspirational to see [Graham] accomplish what he did in his state, knowing that if he could overcome his situation and perform regardless, then we should have no excuse and should perform as well,” said Knox.

According to Hauss, the past two years have been an extremely humbling experience. He hopes to spend his future time at UC San Diego helping his teammates bounce back from similar experiences.

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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