What does it take to be a champion? In any field (including my own!), it takes hard work, determination and a commitment to excellence. At the USC Uytengsu Aquatics Center, talented swimmers and divers from around the world are transformed into Olympic-level athletes.
I stumbled across the recently-renovated Aquatics Center while scouting another project I was getting ready shoot at USC, and learned that it was designed by one of my favorite firms, ELS Architects out of Berkeley. I jumped on the phone immediately, and was able to shoot their project too!
This is a truly amazing facility, full of top-of-the-line training equipment, transparent office spaces, and lounge areas for the athletes to recoup between training sessions — all decked out in USC Cardinal and Gold. The spaces are very open and flowing, and everything connects back to the pool — the epicenter of the Aquatic Center.
The most exciting part of this assignment was getting up close with the athletes as they practiced their aerial dive maneuvers. Flipping and spinning in the air with such force and accuracy — you couldn’t help but stare in amazement. Watching these former, current and (hopefully) future Olympians, you could feel history being made.
Timing was everything. We had to work closely with the coaches to coordinate our angles and shooting locations around the NCAA competitions. During a triple dusk shot, one of the students was rushed off to the hospital for pushing herself too hard and forgetting to check her insulin levels. Talk about intense! If something crazy and unexpected is going to happen, it’s almost guaranteed to happen during our dusk shots, when time and light are the most valuable.