Feb 16, 2016
Mollie McLean, as Mollie Lewis, graduated UCSC in 2005 as an all-American and the last UCSC swimmer to win a title at the NCAA Championships, placing first in the 200-meter Breaststroke in 2003.
What have you been doing since college?
I'm at UCSF, a clinical nurse ,Orthopedic spinal surgery.
I studied Biology at UCSC. Johns Hopkins had an accelerated for people already with a Bachelors, so I did a 13 month program there and got my Bachelor's in Nursing. I got a job before I graduated and as soon as I finished I came to San Francisco and haven't left.
How did you pick UC Santa Cruz?
I was looking for a larger university and where I could swim. I also wanted someplace with both a men's and women's program because I trained with coed teams and I wanted to continue that.
I did the college tours like everybody, and when I got to Santa Cruz I just fell in love; when I did a recruiting visit with the swim team, everything about it was perfect for me. Santa Cruz for me was far enough where I felt I was moving away from home, but not across the country.
What was the team like?
The team was amazing. It became family. A lot of people think of swimming as an individual sport. And it is because lap after lap you're in your own head. But every time you hit the wall you have people cheering you on. You start to have conversations five seconds at a time at the wall. But the team was absolutely incredible. Some of my closest friends are people I played with at Santa Cruz. Every year at the alumni swim meet, people bring their families and more and more kids are there. It's fun to see.
How was it being at the NCAAs?
The NCAAs was always a great time, so much excitement. You see the feeling of being best of the best in your division.
We looked forward to it every year; we made a special NCAA warm-up CD. I got 2nd place my freshman year (Note-by .03 seconds) and I was pretty pumped to be standing on the podium. I won my sophomore year. Then I moved down a little bit, but it was always a good accomplishment.
What was it like winning in Atlanta?
One of the more exciting moments of my life. My best friends were there, my parents came out, and of course coach Kim.
What was Kim Munsch like as a coach back then?
Kim has always been a goofball, but would get down to business a great guy, always supportive. I can't say enough about what a great coach he was.
What have you heard about the UCSC athletics programs in peril?
I was at the alumni swim meet in October two years ago and Kim mentioned it.
Then this year, he said everything was up in the air, but I guess the referendum has been canceled.
All I can say is I valued my experience at Santa Cruz but I wouldn't have gone without the swim team. If they lose that, it would be a disservice to the students involved and the future students that won't have the swim team be a part of their experience.
Mollie in her current day-to-day uniform.