USA National Team Member Erica Sullivan Deferring Her Enrollment to USC Until After the 2020 Olympics

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

18-year-old Erica Sullivan of the Sandpipers of Nevada told Swimming World she has decided to defer her enrollment to the University of Southern California until after the 2020 Olympics.

“I decided to defer for a total of two years because I’ve recently been given an opportunity to follow my dreams. When I committed to USC there was no way to predict how far I would come. Dave and Catherine have gone above and beyond to show their support for me in a situation where a lot of coaches wouldn’t. I wish the Trojans the best for the upcoming season and I still plan to join them after the Olympic cycle.”

Sullivan committed to swim at USC in June 2017, joining the stellar open water training group that featured Becca Mann and Olympian Haley Anderson.

Sullivan told Swimming World in May 2018 that she had originally intended on joining the USC team in January 2019, but has decided to wait until after the 2020 Olympic Games to join the team in Los Angeles.

Sullivan is coming off a successful year where she made the Pan Pac team and placed fifth in the 800 and ninth in the 1500 at the meet in Japan. She also competed in the 10K open water race for Team USA at the Pan Pacs, placing fourth among the Americans at the meet.

Sullivan also recently competed at the King Marlin Pro-Am Classic in Lewisville, Texas, where she posted a 15:36.52 in the 1650 and 9:17.32 in the 1000, which would have been number one in Division I at this point in the year.

Moving forward to the Olympic year, Sullivan is in the running to snag a spot on the US Olympic Team in the 10K open water race, as well as an outside chance in the 800 or 1500 pool events. Her 800 best time (8:26.27) put her fifth in the nation this year, and her 1500 (16:02.88) also put her fifth.

Erica Sullivan’s best chance to make the Olympic team would probably be in the 10K open water event. The top ten finishers from the 2019 World Championships will automatically qualify to compete in Tokyo, and nine athletes will qualify at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Swimming qualifier. Sullivan is one of the top open water swimmers in the United States along with Anderson, Ashley TwichellHannah Moore and Chase Travis. She is the reigning Open Water national champion in the 5K and was third in the 10K in 2018.

By the time Erica Sullivan gets to USC in the fall of 2020, Maggie Aroesty and Marta Ciesla will be in their senior year for the Trojans. USC was 12th at the NCAA Championships in 2018 and are currently ranked seventh in the latest CSCAA poll.

Some notable swimmers that have deferred their enrollment until after the Olympics were Katie Ledecky and Abbey Weitzeil leading up to the 2016 Games. Both Ledecky and Weitzeil qualified in at least two individual events in Rio.

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