One Washington Square: Within Reach

By Lauren Hernandez

Photo: Dan Fenstermacher, '16 MFA Photography

Photo: Dan Fenstermacher, ’16 MFA Photography

Spartan long-distance freestyle swimmer Riley Spitser has ushered in new records that make her one of the fastest swimmers in SJSU’s history and a 2016 Summer Olympic hopeful.

Spitser, ’16 Communication Studies, got her start in a summer league in Maryland at seven years old and hasn’t slowed down since. Most of her life has been scheduled around her swim program: wake at dawn, swim for hours, condition, go to school, finish homework in the evening, sleep early—and repeat.

Like any athlete who has had a lifetime to perfect her sport, Spitser has dreamed of the opportunity to represent the United States in swimming.

Despite heightened expectations, Spitser is tackling her Olympic ambition like any other swim meet—including pre-relay traditions. In addition to doing a meticulous stretch warm-up, Spitser often blasts One Direction in her earbuds so she can have her own poolside dance party as spectators look on at her routine.

Music is an integral part of Spitser’s life, both in and out of the pool. She performed in local singing competitions in middle school and sang in choir. Although her choir days ended once she entered high school, where she found her interest in drama, she still sings every day, much to the dismay of her roommates.

Now that she’s graduated, Spitser hopes to marry her love of swimming and singing in Los Angeles, a city home to her big musical and theatrical dreams, and to USC’s Trojan Swim Club.

Watch a video about Riley Spitser.


Jody Ulate

Jody Ulate, '05 MA English, is editor of the Washington Square blog and printed alumni magazine.

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