Feb. 19, 2004
We check the men's swimming volksgeist with Keith Vogelgesang. The senior Golden Bear tells us everything we need to know about the butterfly, Pink Floyd, and supply chain management.
Q: What is your prediction for this weekend v. Stanford?
A: This weekend we really believe we are going to beat them. Other years we thought we could, but I don't think we really believed it. We made a lineup I think they can't match up against. It won't be a blowout, it will be a good close meet, and in the end, I think we will come out on top.
Q: Beyond this weekend, what are your goals?
A: I have never been to NCAAs. This year in the 200 fly, with what I have been swimming, I hope that is in the cards. My goal at Pac-10s and even this weekend is to make the NCAA cut individually. Team-wise, Stanford has won Pac-10s 22 times in a row, so winning Pac-10s would be an awesome way to end my senior year. As for NCAAs, I think we are going to surprise people there. We could end up definitely top three, and hopefully No. 1 or 2.
Q: What is the character of this team?
A: There are a lot of different kinds of characters and that is what makes us unique and is one of our strengths. Our overall character is crazy, but in a good way. Everybody loves to have fun but this team has been the hardest-working team of my four years here. We brought in some really good freshmen and the whole group has been staying real focused.
Q: How did you end up in the 200 fly, 200 IM, 100 fly, and 200 free events?
A: All through high school, I was a 400 IMer and a 200 IMer. I came into Cal more of a backstroker, but I made the transition to fly my freshman year. With the 200 IM, you get to do a little of everything and it switches over real fast stroke to stroke. It is a 200, but it is really a sprint because you have to sprint each of those strokes. I think 200 fly, though, is my favorite event, just because of the stroke, the way everything flows. It is one of those races that everyone thinks is hard but when you figure out how to swim it, it is actually easy and a lot of fun.
Q: What is it like to swim for Coach Thornton and Coach Bottom?
A: They give all of the athletes a lot of leeway in terms of how they want to tailor their program. They listen to our input. It is not 'It's our way or you are not on the team'. If you look at this team, a lot of us wouldn't be swimming if we were on a team with coaches who had to have it their way and college swimming has a lot of those kinds of coaches. For example, I have worked with doing a little more distance in the beginning of the season and on doing a lot of fly and that is helping my stroke.
Q: How did you end up at Cal?
A: My brother Bruce was here and swam on the team. He was two years older than me, so my junior and senior year of high school, I would be here a lot for meets. On my recruiting trip, the team chemistry here was just so much better. Everybody gets along. Everybody has a lot of fun with each other and swims well.
Q: What is your major?
A: Industrial Engineering Operations Research. It is the study of systems of people, computers, machines, and finding the best way for them all to interact with each other. Basically it is all math, statistics, and probabilities. The best example would be supply chain management, mapping the inventory flow from raw materials to something being produced to transportation to getting it to the store shelves - figuring out the best way to do that for the least amount of money. Another example, is airlines scheduling planes, pilots, and people - there you would use probability models and linear programming. I am also doing a business minor. I like it a lot. I enjoy my business classes more because industrial engineering is the engineering of the underlying principles of business so I can apply what I have learned in engineering to the business problems we study.
Q: What would you like to do after you graduate in May?
A: I would like to go into an industrial engineering field that is more geared towards finance or something strictly in finance.
Q: So does this mean you read Money religiously?
A: I pick up Fortune every once in a while and I read Maxim and those magazines, and then Sports Illustrated.
Q: Who plays you in the movie of your life?
Maybe Ed Norton, but that is because he is my favorite actor.
Q: And the movie would be entitled?
A: That's hard.
Q: Okay. Easy one: what cds are in your car now?
A: I have mostly mixes that I make. I listen to the radio a lot of the time. There are three stations I usually switch between, 92.3 KSJO, 107.7 The Bone, and Live 105. I like classic rock, like Pick Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Metallica is probably my favorite band. But I like newer stuff like AFI.
Q: Who influenced your taste?
A: My older brother probably got me into classical rock. He has been a big influence on me. He was also in engineering. We went to the same high school. We swam together mostly my sophomore year in high school and then here. He has had a huge influence on my life. I guess that movie of my life would be called something like "My Brother and Me". I think going through high school and college we have been not only brothers, but also really good friends.