Two-time open water U.S. National champ Becca Mann has turned professional, forgoing her final two seasons of NCAA competition for USC.
Mann, who was in USC’s well-regarded screenwriting program, said she’s taking the year off from school to focus on the open water Olympic qualification process, which takes place in the summer of 2019. (Typically, the top finishers in the Open Water Worlds 10K the year before the Olympics qualify automatically a year early, with a secondary chance taking place for some nations in the Olympic year itself).
“I want to give 100% of my time and attention to whatever I do, and taking some time off school will allow me to do just that with swimming so I can get ready for open water Olympic Trials this year,” Mann said. She said she’s been prioritizing screenwriting while she’s been in USC’s program and has been pleased with the results, but said that focus has had an impact on her swimming. Mann will continue to write over the next year and plans to return to cinema school down the road.
Recently, in fact, a screenplay Mann wrote was listed among the semifinalists of the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards. It’s titled Incidental Contact and has a distinctly swimming-centric focus. The logline, per Mann: After killing a competitor during a cutthroat open water race, a swimmer has to decide how far she’s willing to go for the gold.
Finalists will be named this weekend. You can check out the semifinalists here. Mann says she’s also waiting to hear back from a few more contests to which she’s submitted scripts.
In the pool, Mann was a freshman NCAA scorer during the 2016-2017 season, placing 15th in the 500 free. She made NCAAs but didn’t score for the Trojans last season, with a highest finish of 18th in the 1650 free.
Mann is also a U.S. National Teamer and two-time national champ in open water swimming, which has been her forte for most of her career. Mann won back-to-back U.S. National 10K titles in 2014 and 2015 and has represented Team USA at Worlds (2013, 2015, 2017) Pan Pacs (2014), Junior Worlds (2013) and Junior Pan Pacs (2012).