National Teamer Erica Sullivan Will Sit Out Fall Semester at USC

Erica Sullivan, who earlier this week was named to the 2018-2019 USA Swimming National Team in the 800 free, 1500 free, and open water 10k, will sit out the fall semester for USC before joining the team in the spring, head coach Dave Salo confirmed to SwimSwam on Friday. Salo says this was the plan all along for her.

Sullivan, who is set to be a freshman at USC this coming semester, is listed on the team’s public roster for the 2018-2019 season as a freshman. We’ve seen past USC swimmers, including Carsten Vissering last season, do something similar – he took the semester to study abroad in Australia before returning to California for the championship season.

Sullivan earned her spot on the national team via a 5th-place finish in the 800 and a 3rd-place finish in the 1500 at the US National Championships. She improved her time in the 800 at Pan Pacs, swimming an 8:26.27.

Her best time in the 1650 yard free (the NCAA’s longest event) would’ve placed 3rd at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

Sullivan’s best times in yards:

  • 200 free – 1:47.43
  • 500 free – 4:38.13
  • 1650 free – 15:40.42
  • 100 back – 55.17
  • 200 back – 1:58.48
  • 400 IM – 4:18.00

The USC women finished 12th at last year’s NCAA Championship. With the Trojans, Sullivan will have the chance to work with associate head coach Catherine Vogt, who was the American open water head coach for the 2009, 2013, and 2015 World Championships. Vogt is also the personal head coach of American Haley Anderson, who is both a 2013 and 2015 World Champion in the open water 5k, and the winner of the last two Pan Pac open water 10k titles. Those titles go along with a 2012 Olympic silver medal in the 10km marathon swim.

USC had two female distance swimmers qualify for NCAAs last year, sophomore Becca Mann and junior Elizabeth Stinson, though neither scored (they were 18th and 22nd in the 1650 free, respectively). Mann has since turned pro.

USC 1st semester schedule:

  • September 6th – intrasquad
  • October 5th-6th – Trojan Invite
  • October 12th-13th – SMU Classic
  • October 19th – @Utah
  • November 2nd – Arizona State
  • November 3rd – Arizona
  • November 9th-11th – Trojan Diving Invitational
  • November 9th – Fresno Pacific
  • November 10th – Alumni Relays
  • November 28th-December 1st – Texas Invite

USC 2nd semester schedule:

  • January 11th-13th – Bruin Diving Invitaitonal
  • January 18th – Minnesota, Oregon State tri
  • February 1st – @Cal
  • February 2nd – @Stanford
  • February 15th – UCLA
  • February 27th-March 2nd – Pac-12 Championships
  • March 5th-7th – Zone E Diving Championships
  • March 20th-23rd – NCAA Championships



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Salo does this often. This way he can have more scholarship swimmers for pac 12 and NCAAs. Some think it is not quite following the intent of the rules….but it is legal


Can you elaborate? I don’t understand

mike in dallas

yes, please do… i don’t see this


It only costs 1/2 scholarship to get her to swim this years champ season. So usc can get more bang out of their 14 scholarships. Somebody else can be on 50% for the entire year and that equals 2 for the price of one scholarship.


true story

ct swim fan

I get that this is only using 1 full scholarship, but who had Erica’s money for the 1st semester? What happens next year? Does she sit out the 1st semester again next year?


It doesn’t have to be one particular swimmer. It is just a matter of making the numbers working for the total team. It is complicated

ct swim fan

I kept thinking about this and the only way this makes any sense to me is this way 1. She’s on their roster, thus in school. She must have agreed to pay her own way for the Fall Semester. 2. USC can divide their 14 scholarships any way they wish. For instance 28 girls could be on 1/2 scholarship the whole year. 3. Starting 2nd sesester this year she is on full scholarship for the duration of her career. 4. Her full scholarship next year must be the money someone that graduates in the Spring is using this year. 5. The girl that was her 50% partner this year will have a new partner(s) next year to combine with to… Read more »


I don’t think she’s enrolled in school for the fall semester (your #1 above). She’s been in Israel for the last week at the OW World Jrs and got 5th in her event (10k).


Can’t wait to see what this girl can do!

david brooks

I hope she has better success at USC than Becca Mann did. Similar trajectories in terms of open water racing


Mann was dealing with a back injury dating back to the spring/summer before USC, which probably had more to do with her (relative) pool struggles than anything. Nice to see her racing again, hope she keeps building back to form for those OW champs.

ct swim fan

We’ve already seen what she can do. She’s on the National Team, so she’s amazing.


See above. Becca Mann was amazing entering USC and never did much there. Each swimmer has to do it


Isabella Rongione was also an elite distance swimmer when she entered USC (not at the level of Mann & Sullivan- but she was on the national team) yet she failed to qualify for NCAAs this year. Don’t know how her open water times have been though.


Interesting leverage of scholarship $. Also she won’t have to adhere to NCAA training hrs limit her first semester, right?

She’s also good enough that she can make NCAA invite times without a full taper at pac 12’s.


I have never heard a college coach or athlete say the 20 hour rule was really a deterrent!


Maybe for a distance swimmer though

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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