The USC Trojans have named five captains for the 2014-2015 season. The women’s team will be led by junior Kendyl Stewart and senior Rebecca Heyliger, while the men’s team will be led by seniors Andrew Malone, Cristian Quintero, and sophomore Reed Malone.
The name that really stands out on the list is Quintero, one of the most versatile freestylers in the nation and the defending NCAA Champion in the 500 yard freestyle. Normally, a resume like that would be a logical choice for captain. In this case, however, it’s a surprise.
That’s because late in the 2013-2014 season, the USC media department confirmed that the 2013-2014 season would be Quintero’s last one under the NCAA’s watchful eye, as he was only granted three years of eligibility.
The USC coaching staff has repeatedly declined to explain how a swimmer who has exhausted their NCAA eligibility could be a team captain, but has promised a press release on the subject in the near future.
As for the rest of the captains, Andrew Malone stands out as a swimmer who really made a name for himself in the 2013-2014 season. He improved his 100 yard breaststroke time by a full second to put himself into the NCAA Championship meet out of relative anonymity.
Reed Malone, no relationship, is also a very impressive choice in that he has been named a captain as only a sophomore. His best NCAA finish last year was a 14th-place finish in the 500 yard freestyle.
Stewart, a combo butterflier/backstroker, is a crucial part of the USC relays. Though her NCAA meet didn’t end up as well as she had probably hoped individually (she didn’t score), she was a part of USC’s 9th-place 200 medley relay.
Heyliger is a sprint freestyler, who earned Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention as a junior. Per the 2013-2014 roster, she will be one of only four seniors on next year’s USC women’s team.