International swimmer juggles athletic, academic responsibilities

Edgar Crespo competes on the TCU’s official NCAA swimming & diving team and represents his home country of Panama, as well. He even competed in the Olympics last summer.

By Steffon Nickson
Posted November 16, 2012
Courtesy of Go Frogs

Athletes dream of days like this. To reach the top of their game. Compete for their country. Claim a gold medal.

Unfortunately, all of these achievements cannot often be accomplished for athletes. There are a few people who take on America’s topmost national competition and the world’s toughest international competition.

But that’s the life of TCU fifth-year breaststroke swimmer Edgar Crespo.

Now in his fifth year, Crespo cannot compete for TCU due to NCAA regulations. However, he continues to practice with the team despite the fact that he swims for his home country of Panama, as well. He even competed in the Olympics last summer.

Crespo’s climb up the proverbial swimming ladder in Panama is an unusual one. He started swimming when he was eight years old because his mom wanted him to. She made him take lessons just to get use to the idea of swimming. He said he did not really want to do it, especially after he realized he was allergic to the chlorine in the water.

As he began to swim more often, Crespo said he began to like it more and more. He said he eventually started to focus on swimming after he realized how much more he could travel if he swam rather than playing another sport.

“I like [swimming] more in that aspect than soccer,” he explained.

Even before going to the Olympics, Crespo was featured in a parade in Panama. He said despite achievements like this, the fact that he enjoys what he is doing makes him feel good about his athleticism. “If you don’t have passion then you won’t achieve anything.”

Crespo said he typically shared his Panamanian team schedule with his TCU coaches.  From there, he lays out a schedule of his travel and plans accordingly. There are some minor tournaments and meets that Crespo does not go to if his TCU coaches do not want him to, but Crespo said he’s never had a conflict that was that unsolvable.

In most cases, Crespo said his international competition did not get in the way of competing for TCU. But from time to time, he has hit some bumps in the road.

A memorable moment is when he swam in a tournament overseas for Panama two days before a TCU meet against Wyoming in Fort Worth, he said.

After the meet for the Panama team was over, Crespo headed to the airport. He found out his flight was cancelled due to weather. By the time he was able to fly, it was the day of the TCU meet. Crespo said he arrived in Fort Worth the morning the meet started, and somehow was able to win three events for the school.

Crespo said his coaches were still proud of him and allowed him to continue to compete for Panama even after tricky instances like that. He said he carries the TCU brand and name along with him when he competes, which he thinks gains international attention for the university.

Crespo hopes to graduate in December with a degree in international marketing. After school, he would like to continue swimming, own his own business or even continue his studies.

But where are his sights set in 2016? A gold medal in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.


TCU athletes prepared for Olympic challenge

By Liliana Lamas of TCU 360
Posted July 31, 2012

The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games arrived and London bled purple.

The world’s best athletes have come together and among those are TCU’s Edgar Crespo and Sarah Scherer.

‘A dream come true’

Junior Edgar Crespo swims the breast stroke against Utah in 2011. Photo by Multimedia. Editor Matt Coffelt.

Four years ago, Edgar Crespo competed at the Olympics in Beijing for the first time. Since then, Crespo trained in preparation for the moment that many athletes only dream of- competing for their country in front of the world.

“I mean anything can happen, so I will do my best as I always do and swim as fast as I can, so I can reach the goal I have right now,” Crespo said before the competition.

Crespo competed at the London Games in the 100-meter breaststroke representing his home country, Panama. Crespo placed fourth in his heat at the Olympics. At TCU, Crespo holds the record in both 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

“TCU has been my second house, my second family, so it’s almost the same feeling that I have representing Panama,” Crespo said before the competition.

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were a great experience but now the proud Panamanian and Horned Frog  felt ready for the London Games, he said.

“When you’re a kid, you want to be like big stars,” he said. “ I still want to be like the really good stars Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, so I have to work harder.”

Bill Koppelman, assistant coach for TCU Swimming and Diving, joined Crespo at the Olympics as Panama’s assistant coach swimming and diving coach.

“It’s an amazing honor,” Koppelman said before the competition. “It’s something that Edgar has earned and I’m just helping him along the way.”

Koppelman joined the TCU swimming and diving team as an assistant coach in the fall of 2006. He has trained with Crespo for four and a half years and is coaching at the Olympics for the first time.

“Everything about the Olympics is such a great opportunity, “ he said. “It only comes around every four years and it’s the biggest event in swimming.”

Koppelman said Crespo is a dedicated and humble person that makes coaching easy for him because he is a hardworking athlete.

For Koppelman, coaching comes first and after Crespo’s event, he looks forward to observing and learning the most that he can, watching swim meets and supporting the other Panamanian athletes.

Koppelman also had the opportunity to work with another Olympian, Alejandro Gomez during his first year coaching at TCU.

Gomez, who is a TCU graduate, competed in the long distance swimming competition for Venezuela at the London Games. He trained in Florida with another TCU alum, Gregg Troy, who is the head coach for the men’s swimming and diving team.

“When we’re sending multiple people to the Olympics, including our alumni, that’s definitely something we can hope to build upon and hopefully get some more in 2016,” Koppelman said.


Frogs headed to the Olympics

By Lexy Cruz and Bailey McGowan of TCU 360
Posted July 19, 2012

These Frogs will compete in the 2012 London Summer Games.

Sarah Scherer
Senior Sarah Scherer competed in the 2012 Olympics and placed seventh out of eight athletes in the women’s 10 meter air rifle event. Scherer is a NCAA Champion with many rifle honors as a part of TCU’s rifle team. Scherer shot a perfect 600 against the University of Alaska-Fairbanks last fall, an accomplishment she said she did not expect at this point in her career. TCU Coach Karen Monez said Scherer was the fourth person in NCAA history to attain a perfect score and the second woman to do so.

Edgar Crespo
TCU’s Edgar Crespo placed fourth in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke representing Panama. Crespo holds the TCU record in both the 100 meter and 200 meter breaststroke. He competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the Pan-American games this past fall.

Alejandro Gomez
TCU graduate Alejandro Gomez will swim for Venezuela in the Olympics this summer. He swam the men’s 1500 meter freestyle in 15:24.29 placing third. He previously held the TCU record for the 1,000 meter freestyle. Gomez will compete on Aug. 3.

Khadevis Robinson
TCU graduate Khadevis Robinson earned a place on the U.S. team for the London Games with a time of 1:44.64 as a runner-up in finals of the men’s 800 meters. He previously placed first overall with a time of 1:45.83 in the semifinals of the men’s 800 meters.

Justyn Warner
TCU graduate Justyn Warner will compete in London for Canada in the men’s 100 meters. He placed first overall in the men’s 100 meters at the Canadian Track and Field Championships. His time was 10.15 seconds. The three time All-American finished third overall at the Mountain West Conference Championships in 2009 and qualified for the NCAA Regional.

Darvis “Doc” Patton
TCU graduate Darvis Patton will run in the 4×100-meter relay for U.S. In 2000, he became the first TCU athlete to win an indoor conference long jump title and the first Horned Frog to win a conference long jump crown of any kind since 1970 when he won the WAC indoor title. The ten time All-American graduated from TCU in 2001.

Gregg Troy
Former Frog Gregg Troy is the head coach for the men’s Olympic swim team. Troy graduated from TCU in 1972 and is currently the University of Florida head coach.

Bill Koppelman
Bill Koppelman is the assistant coach for Panama’s swimming and diving team. Bill Koppelman joined the TCU staff  as the assistant coach for TCU Swimming and Diving in the fall of 2006.