Student athlete profile

Name: Erkan Ozgen

Year: senior

Hometown: Burr Ridge

When did you first start swimming competitively?

I was about 5 or 6 years old when I first competed. My mom used to (swim) in high school, so she had my brother start. After watching him, I wanted to start doing it.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Just all the relationships I've made throughout the years I've been swimming. All of those guys are some of my closest friends.

Did COVID-19 make it tough to stay in shape in the off-season?

It did at first, but I feel like after a while most of us found ways to stay in shape. We just tried to make the most of the opportunities we were given.

What is your favorite event?

Definitely the 50 freestyle, because I feel like anyone can win it, no matter how big the difference is between the guy who is supposed to and the guy who gets second. I just like how it's anyone's game.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals or routines?

I've always got to splash myself before I swim and pat my chest two times and thank God I have the opportunity to swim in such a good swimming environment in Hinsdale. I like to think of all the positive things that can come out of it. I never really think of the negatives.

What is the best advice you've gotten from a coach?

My club coach told me to just be yourself, because if you are going to act in a different way in front of your teammates, you are not going to be giving them what they truly deserve, which is yourself.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Maybe that I can speak two languages, the other one being Turkish.

Where will you swim next year? What will you study?

Ball State University; pre-medicine.

Why does coach Bob Barber like having Ozgen on the team?

Erkan brings a lot of energy. You definitely know when he is present on the deck. It can be the worst of days, and he's still finding something to talk about, to distract himself from some tough set coming up. He does a really nice job of motiving the guys, especially during taper meets.

- profile by Pamela Lannom, photo by

Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean