Simply the Best
A Shining Light on   Broadway



Ric Burns '78
Ronald Mason Jr. '74
Victor Wouk '39

Four Years Later, Her Star Shines Brightly

By Alex Sachare

Alex Sachare

Four years ago, Columbia College Today heralded the arrival of the Class of 2000 - the first of the new millennium or the last of the old, take your pick - with a cover portraying Olympic gold medalist Cristina Teuscher, an incoming first-year, splashing her way to victory.

That class is graduating later this month. Much has changed in the intervening four years, but one constant has been Teuscher winning her races. In her time at Columbia, Teuscher finished first in each individual race she entered - dual meets, Ivies, NCAAs, whatever.

Think about that for a moment. During four years, every time she put on goggles and jumped into a pool in earnest for an individual race, she touched the finish wall first. Every time - no bad meets, no injuries, no upsets, no travel woes, no blahs, no excuses. Nothing but Ws.

It is a remarkable record, one that has earned Teuscher her share of accolades. She is the only Ivy swimmer ever to win an NCAA event - and she won four. She was chosen the Outstanding Swimmer at all four Ivy League Championships in which she competed. Recently she was named the winner of the Honda Award as the outstanding female collegiate swimmer in the country, and a finalist for the Honda-Broderick Award, given to the outstanding female college athlete each year.

For all those achievements, what is equally noteworthy is the grace with which she has conducted herself, never letting her athletic achievements go to her head. From the moment she set foot on campus, she made a conscious effort to blend into the crowd, to "be anonymous" as she put it, and to explore all that Columbia has to offer as one member of a remarkable student body that seems to get more remarkable every year.

She went out of her way to avoid special treatment and be part of a team, to share her success with her teammates. When we first asked the Athletics Office for photos of Teuscher for a planned story, we were told they had very few because she declined to be photographed individually, only with her teammates. It wasn't till graduation neared that she agreed to sit through a photo shoot - quite a change from the way so many star athletes gravitate toward the camera like moths to a flame.

We are pleased to present a feature about Teuscher as she completes her four years at Columbia in this issue (page 18). And this September, when you watch the Olympics from Sydney, Australia, feel good about cheering her on.

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