Missouri All-American breaststroker Sam Tierney is spending the summer training with the loaded professional group at USC, but will return to Mizzou in the fall to help start a postgrad group at his alma mater.
Tierney graduated this past spring after a stellar NCAA career that culminated in a fifth-place finish in the 100 breast at this year’s NCAA Championships. He told SwimSwam he moved to southern California for the summer to complete an internship with the Trojan Athletic Fund.
That allowed him to swim with the Trojan Swim Club’s star-studded breaststroke group that includes Olympians Mike Alexandrov (previously for Bulgaria, now competing for the U.S. team), Jessica Hardy (U.S.), Azad Al-Barazi (Syria) and Yuliya Efimova (Russia) among many others.
“Trojan has been a great experience,” Tierney said, “and [Trojan coach] Dave [Salo] was nice enough to have me for the summer. It’s not everyday you get to swim with such a stacked program.”
Tierney said one highlight of the summer has been meeting swimming legends like John Naber and Bruce Furniss while working with the Trojan Athletic Fund.
After this summer, though, Tierney will return to his alma mater in Columbia, Missouri, where a new pro group will be forming.
“I’m very excited to get back to Missouri with the Tigers,” he said. “The coaching and resources there are quickly pushing the program forward. This coming year will be the first time Mizzou’s had a real post grad group, and I want to be a part of that.
I don’t think it’s coincidental that most powerhouse programs have post-grad groups. Building one at Mizzou will be great for the school, I think.”
Tierney blew up as college swimmer at Missouri, rising to become one of the nation’s best college breaststrokers. He was 51.54 in the short course 100 this past season, as well as 1:51.78 in the 200, finishing top 8 in both. He’s been dealing with a shoulder injury this summer that has hampered his training some, but Tierney said he’s working to get fully healthy while trying to make that same leap in the long course pool in preparation for next summer’s Olympic Trials.