July 31, 2012
LONDON - Today, I was able to connect with Dan Williams, Assistant Athletic Director for Information Systems at Cal. I met Dan, his wife, Rita, and his three children, Kendall, Blake and Connor, in the Euston Rail Station in Central London. Dan and his family had just left a basketball game at Olympic Park early so they could make it back to where they were staying in time to see Caitlin Leverenz swim in her 200 IM final and win a bronze medal! I was also on my way home to watch Caitlin swim but I had come from a great day of rowing out at Eton Dorney.
Dan and his family walked into the train station fully decked out in Cal gear. It was awesome! I was really excited to learn more about the Williams family trip to the Olympics. I had the opportunity to ask Dan a few questions:
JENNY SIMON-O'NEILL: What is your experience like at the Olympics so far?
That's been our experience so far. Tomorrow, one of us is going to see some beach volleyball. Incredibly, we have a friend who was able to get us tickets to the men's semifinal soccer match at Old Trafford, where Man U plays. We're really looking forward to that as well.
JSON: Is this your first Olympics?
JSON: What would you say your favorite part of this has been so far?
DW: It's all been wonderful. We've been with the kids (to London) now three times, and we just love coming here. Wandering through the Olympic Complex today was amazing. The sense you get from the country and the people here and how excited and proud they are is pretty cool. The events we've seen so far have been spectacular, and we're looking forward to a few more. It's a fun family vacation as well, kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
JSON: You've been to London before, but - other than the obvious, the Olympics - is anything different from your last trip?
JSON: How long have you been working at Cal?
JSON: What's it like to have 45 Olympians from Cal?
JSON: Having so many Olympians from Cal, how does that impact what we do on a day-to-day basis in the department?
JSON: Anything else you would like to share with CalBears.com?
Before we parted, there was one more thing that I wanted to learn more about. When Dan's family first arrived at the station, his son, Connor, mentioned something to me about having Caitlin Leverenz as a lab partner last fall. I asked Connor to tell me a little bit more about that experience. He said that he and Caitlin had been part of a four-person lab group during the fall of 2011 in Biology 1B. They worked on 5-6 labs as a group throughout the course of the semester. One of the assignments involved going outside onto the grass to pick up beans with chopsticks, which was intended to simulate the concept of survival of the fittest. Sounds interesting!
Connor told me that he really enjoyed working with Caitlin for a variety of reasons, but he was especially excited to have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a world-class swimmer.
Thanks again to Dan and his family for meeting me to tell me about the trip.
- Jenny Simon-O'Neill