Sean Ryan (left), Connor Jaeger (right)
Balancing research and academics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering along with outstanding swimming skills must be considered a feat in itself, and Senior Undergraduates, Sean Ryan and Connor Jaeger, have mastered it. This past month, the two mechanical engineering students revealed their world-class athleticism at both the World University Games and the U.S. Qualifiers Meet.
On July 12th, at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, Ryan finished the 1,500-meter freestyle ahead of seven other swimmers from universities across the globe. After the halfway point, Ryan pulled ahead of the pack, maintaining his lead until the finish point. With a time of 14:57.33, Ryan ranks 5th best in the world.
“It was my first individual international medal, and my first time breaking 15 minutes in the 1500 which is a big milestone for me,” Ryan said.
This summer, Ryan has pursued research alongside fellow teammate, Connor Jaeger. Both students are working to discover the potential impact of using additive manufacturing in the orthotics and prosthetics industry.
Ryan plans on furthering his swimming career as well as his education after graduation. He says that a master’s degree in mechanical engineering is a strong possibility.
The games in Russia were preceded by victories at the U.S. Nationals and World Championship Trials. On June 25th, at the U.S. Qualifiers Meet held in Indianapolis, Jaeger won first place in the 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1,500-meter freestyle in men’s swimming. His 1,500-meter time of 14:53.34 rendered him third in the world rankings for that race.
Jaeger’s streak has since persisted, resulting in his first international medal. At the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, Jaeger surprised the crowd as he took home the bronze medal for the 400-meter freestyle on July 28th. Ranking seventh in the preliminaries, Jaeger picked up his pace as he cut a solid three seconds off of his time for the finals.
The opportunity to win additional medals remains for both Jaeger and Ryan, as the finals for the 800-meter and 1,500- meter freestyle will be held respectively, on Wednesday, July 31st and Sunday, August 4th.