׿

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pitt Swimming’s Jerry Chen receives Postgraduate Award from NCAA

2024+graduate+and+Pitt+swim+athlete+Jerry+Chen+competes+at+a+swim+tournament.%0A
Jon Guo | Staff Photographer
2024 graduate and Pitt swim athlete Jerry Chen competes at a swim tournament.

Since his arrival five years ago, Pitt swimmer Jerry Chen has made a mark as a big part of the men’s swim team. The NCAA hands out a postgraduate award to 126 student-athletes yearly who excel academically and athletically, and Chen earned himself a special place in Pitt history as a recipient of the award.

“I think it’s a combination of my academics, my athletics and my involvement with Pitt athletics,” Chen said. “I always wanted to go to NCAA championships, and it was the one knock on my resumé that I haven’t been. So, I think the big reason I won this award is what I did academically. I’m doing subjects most people wouldn’t dream of doing with a swim schedule.”

Last year, Chen earned a degree in computer science and rehabilitation sciences and a minor in economics. Chen is also heavily involved in the .

“A lot of people consider the time aspect of being a student-athlete, but I don’t think they realize how much time and how fatigue carries over to post-practice. Also, there isn’t an off-season for swimming,” Chen said.“You have to factor in traveling to and from meets, scheduling meals so you know when to fuel properly before and after practice, and find time to attend class and study.”

Chen has excelled in the pool and in the classroom. With the Olympic Trials for the Summer Olympic Games in Paris coming up, Chen continues to work.

“I’ll compete at the . I’ve qualified in the 200-meter long-course breaststroke. You don’t choose breaststroke. Breaststroke chooses you,” Chen said.

Chen has excelled in this event his whole swimming career. In high school, Chen was a two-time PIAA finalist in the 100-meter breaststroke. In his first year at Pitt, Chen won the 200-meter breaststroke in his first The next year, Chen Chen earned stroke as a senior.

This year, Chen recorded a personal best time of and earned after his four-win meet against Stanford.

Chen attended North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, . Chen’s hometown roots were not the only factor that kept him in the Steel City, though.

“I make home wherever I go. The thing about Pitt that attracted me compared to other schools I talked to was that the coaches came to my practices and saw my work ethic,” Chen said. “I wasn’t very good in high school. A lot of the schools wrote me off. I think I was ranked in the 700s, and Pitt was the only one who saw my work ethic. Also, Pitt was the only school strong enough academically to have both of my majors.”

Despite swimming for top teams most of his swimming career, Chen was not always sure he would swim in college at all.

“I was able to excel when I was young because I understood the techniques, but as I got older, maybe 13-14, I started to fall behind because I was a late bloomer,” Chen said. “It was discouraging sometimes, but swimming has never been about winning or being better than anyone. It’s always been about how far I can take this sport in the body that I’ve been given naturally.”

Chen’s mindset that swimming is about personal accomplishment has carried over to his life outside of the pool. In his free time, Chen runs an page with more than 10,000 followers.

“I post not only swimming content but how I manage my time between training, swimming and academics,” Chen said. “It’s to help future student-athletes excel in school or the pool. Hopefully, I can start a business one day.”

Chen spoke of something that many athletes strive for outside of their athletic results — growth. With the conclusion of Chen’s collegiate career coming soon and the end destination seeming more real, Chen reflected on where he came from and how he got here.

“I’ve grown a lot in these past few years. I’m working on being more gracious to myself. I used to be hard on myself and would try to always have a perfect race, which is impossible, but I expected to have it,” Chen said. “I’m allowing myself to be more free, make mistakes and enjoy the journey.”


׿ the Contributor
Conor Hutchison, Staff Writer