Friday, May 21, 2010

Take Advantage and Enjoy

Karl Riecken

Intern, USA Swimming National Team Performance Support

I know that back in November of last year, I had no idea I would be writing this the next May. I applied for this internship on a whim and never thought once about how this could possibly be such a life-altering experience. There is no way that I may express to you reading this entry just how much of a sea change I have seen in my life over the last five months. So seemingly inconsequential in terms of time, but lasting the influence will be.

I do write this blog entry on the last day of my internship, which gives me a perspective wrought with hindsight. With USA Swimming, the opportunities to gain experience and network were endless. Though most of my time was spent working on a variety of projects to assist National Team coaches and athletes, I had ample chances to meet those same people for whom I worked. I thereby became more than simply a temporary worker, but a conduit for reliable and pertinent sport performance information.

Even the uninteresting parts of my experience are not to be classified as such at all. My most boring days are filled with closely watching video taken from each recent Olympiad and major competition for USA Swimming athletes. I had constant access to what the best have done for decades. What made those athletes so great was displayed in front of me and I was able to rewind and watch again as much as I saw fit, able to parse through the details of hand entry, breathing angle, hip position, ankle flexion, etc. Having that legacy in that detail before me offered me something quite unique.

Perchance those who have gotten to know me through this internship will roll their eyes with jaded disinterest when I speak of the outdoors in the loving way in which I do. Born in Albuquerque, yet hailing from Florida, I never realized how much I missed the desert until I found myself out here again. I feel at home with the mountains surrounding me and the rocks and sand below my feet. Nearly every weekend was filled with hiking, climbing, mountain and road biking, swimming, trail running, and of course eating. If you ever need a recommendation on a place to please your pallet, I will be glad to give you direction. I am positive I would have made it out here to find this part of my life again, but I was unsure as to when. I have USA Swimming and the USOC to thank for that.

So there you have it: three-quarters advertisement for the USOC Internship Program, one-quarter advertisement for the outdoors.


  1. Hello! My name is Matt, and I am currently exploring the internship program through the USOC and came across this blog. I have emailed the general USOC internship email address, but I was hoping to be able to email one of you directly--specifically an intern who has worked in the sport performance department. My email address is Thanks and I would love to hear from you. Take care.

  2. Hey Karl! My name is Rachel and I came across this blog when researching about the USOC internships, and I am really interested in the National Team Internship with USA Swimming, among a few others with the US Olympic Committee. I would love to talk to you about your experience if possible. My email is Hope to hear from you!