Sept. 3, 2014
By Kalyn Kahler
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern swimming and diving alumna Erica Rose will add another title to her long resume of achievements on Sept. 18 when the 2004 graduate will be inducted into the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.
The Cleveland, Ohio, native will receive the honor in recognition for her success in open water swimming, where she has been one of the most world's most consistently dominant athletes in the past fifteen years. She won her first World Title in 1998 at the young age of 15, and has since gone on to win 10 national titles. She was voted USA Open Water Swimmer of the Year four times in her career, competed in the Grand Prix and World Cup series of races, finishing as high as third in the world rankings during the 2007 season, and she owns four Pan American gold medals.
As a Wildcat, Rose was a Big Ten finalist and a NCAA qualifier. She credits much of her success in open water swimming to one particularly unusual training technique that she perfected under former Northwestern men's swimming and diving head coach Bob Groseth. Each Saturday morning, Groseth would tether Rose to the diving platform and she would stroke in place for hours on end while he threw ice cold water and other obstacles on top of her to simulate open water competition. Tethering Rose in place prevented her from doing any flip turns, which helped her body to grow accustomed to being horizontal for long periods of time and allowed her to develop a perfect stroke rate for marathon swims.
After she graduated in 2004 and left the pool at the Norris Aquatics Center, Rose returned to her passion for open water swimming and competed in the professional circuit full-time for four years until the financial limitations of living off of race prize money became unsustainable. Although the seven-time USA Swimming national team member is now largely retired from the world of full-time competitive open water swimming, she still swims regularly and trains for the occasional race.
In 2011, after three years away from elite-level competition, Rose won the Manhattan Island Marathon swim in 7 hours 29 minutes and 46 seconds and defeated three-time champion of the race, John van Wisse of Australia.
The grueling 28.5-mile course around Manhattan wasn't even close to Rose's longest swim. She seems to have a very different understanding of the normal limits of human endurance -- she twice swam for 10 straight hours to complete a 55-mile race down the Parana River in Argentina in 2005 and 2007.
After giving up racing full-time, Rose enrolled in graduate school at the University of Michigan and is currently working towards a dual degree in business administration and public health. While working to finish her degrees, she is an administrative specialist in the school's Athletic Development Office.
Rose will join the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame alongside other notable sports figures, Indians owner Larry Dolan, former Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius and former Cavalier Elmore Smith.
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