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More Tan Swimming MARIUS KUSCH ’19 HAS HIS EYE ON A MEDAL


By Jodie Valade Four years ago, Marius Kusch had been at


Queens University for just four months when he attempted to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He did pretty well, but his time in the 100-meter freestyle was 0.02 seconds short of what he needed to make the German national team. “Tat was tough,” Kusch admitted. Kusch, a 2019 finance degree graduate,


now has three years of swimming with Queens on his resume. Tat’s three team national championships, All-American status in seven events—in his senior year, alone—and countless moments lapping up every bit of instruction that he could from Jeff Dugdale, associate athletic director for strategic partnerships and leadership/ director of swimming operations. Tis past March, prior to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Kusch recorded the top German Olympic qualifying time in the 100-meter butterfly.


“I would always try to be like a sponge and absorb as much knowledge from my coaches around me,” Kusch said. “I would always ask for feedback. Tat was one of the main things; I always wanted feedback.” Dugdale saw how Kusch took in everything possible during his time at Queens and how he began to focus on the details in his swimming— and in his life. Tat’s when Kusch’s swimming began to soar.


“I think some of the time when you have people who aren’t achieving what they want, it comes down to nothing about the training,” Dugdale said. “Nothing about the path. It’s more


PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE LEWIS 8 MAGAZINE


about the decision to make lifestyle changes.” Tat means doing things like paying attention to the details.


“I would say I was more aware of how I


moved through the water,” Kusch said. “Also, aware of the little things—making sure I was getting enough sleep, eating the right things—all these other little things that play a role. Probably what changed [most] was just being more aware. And then also just realizing what inefficiencies I had in my stroke.” With his newfound approach to swimming


and life, Kusch has altered his goals, somewhat. Simply securing a spot on the Tokyo Olympics team is not enough. He wants a medal. Since graduating from Queens, Kusch has been training with Team Elite in San Diego—coached by former Olympics coach David Marsh. “Tis is a high-performing group, so everyone has visions of making the [Olympic event] finals or medaling,” Kusch said. And according to Dugdale, Kusch has a legitimate chance. “He was not world-class before he came to


Queens,” Dugdale said. “He was good, but he was not world-class. He had just made his first World Championship for Germany, but was not a medalist. And then by the time he left he had medaled and won a World Championship. “Making the Olympics is just part of the


process for him. It’s not the end-all result.” Using what he learned about swimming and


life at Queens to earn a medal is, even if he has to wait a little longer for the games than he expected.


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