Swimming and Diving Take a Bite out of Hunger

    The sophomores work together to pack a meal and fight hunger.

    Aug. 29, 2013

    The dry, 90 degree August heat didn't deter the Trojans from stepping up to support their community. Donning black shirts in front of the McKay Center, the Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving teams offered two long hours in the sun to help feed the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

    Paired with Feeding Children Everywhere, a non-profit organization bent on eliminating U.S. Hunger, the athletes laughed and cheered their way to 10,000 freshly packed meals. On either end of four assembly lines, the athletes prepared dried foods, measured portions, sealed the sack lunches, and stuffed boxes full of nutrition.

    But despite the labor intensive activity, the Trojans displayed high spirits, and a bit of their insatiable competitive streak. The group divided by year to see who could pack the fastest meal, and who could be the most productive in two hours. The seniors, not to be beaten by rookies, proved to be as energetic and quick as the younger bunch, packing nearly 3,000 meals on their own.

    Helmed by Coach Dave Salo, the current team demonstrated cohesion and dedication to the Los Angeles area. Salo's former Trojans got involved as well, as Swimming and Diving alumni donated all the money for the meals and even helped produce the event.

    Peter Marshall, former member of the Trojan Swim Club and current Event Management Coordinator for Feeding Children Everywhere, spent months developing the original concept for the packing day. After two hours back on campus, he applauded the team's work ethic. "I hope the event helped facilitate some team cohesion and connection. From my perspective it seemed like they were enjoying it," said Marshall. "I can't reiterate enough the difference that this team made today. These meals make a huge difference for the food bank and the people that they serve."

    The day provided a kick start to USC Athletics' new Community Outreach Program. Recently endowed by the Otis Booth Foundation, the program will expand the Trojan impact in areas surrounding USC's campus and beyond. The Swimming and Diving teams offered the first 134 hours of service for the 2013-2014 campaign, a year that promises record-breaking numbers. Now boasting over 500 hours of service during the past three seasons, these teams displayed the heart of the Trojan Spirit.