Alumni Spotlights


Mike Lewis


  Spotlight on Mike Lewis, Marshall ’89

  Sociology and Communication


What do you do?  What do you enjoy about your work?

I just started a new company called Open Water Source, a culmination of my professional experiences over the past 15 years.  I began working in the US Olympic movement after receiving a graduate degree in sport psychology.  I started my career as the High Performance Director for USA Canoe & Kayak in 1998 which took me all over world and I was on the staff for the 2000 Olympics which was a  dream come true. I went on to work at the US Olympic Committee and then made my way back to my aquatics roots, working with USA Water Polo.  In 2006, I had the opportunity to return home to  Southern California as the General Manager of the Mission Viejo Nadadores Swim Club, an organization with over 800 athletes and a huge Olympic tradition.  In January 2011, I was approached by a  former business associate about starting a new business and I jumped in. Open Water Source, LLC is a company devoted to branding, developing the global open water swimming community (16 million  worldwide, 89 countries, 4000 races throughout the world).   Open water swimming was introduced to the Olympic program in 2008 and is experiencing explosive growth. It's the fastest growing sport in the  world right now. It's great to be doing something about which I'm passionate. I'll travel to London during the summer 2011 for the 2012 Olympic test event which is going to be very interesting.

What is your favorite UCSD memory?  

The old TG's were crazy fun and the early Sun God festivals were also cool. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of HL (Humanities Library - I think it's called something else now) it was a great place to study and 'not study'.   I loved my experience on the swim team too. I still have lots of great friends today who are like family from back then.  In retrospect, I appreciate how the rigorous academic programs pushed me to think and discover.  Dr. Herb Schiller and Harley Shaiken were two favorite professors.  

What is one thing that you learned at UCSD that has helped you in your career?

Wow - the ONE thing? That's tough. I learned a lot. My UCSD education has given me the ability to “connect the dots” and see a larger picture.  The broad based aspects of a social science curriculum help me see the social, technological, political, and biological connections in many contexts.

What social science issue are you most passionate about?

I'm concerned with sub-cultural isolation in our society: religious, ethnic, economic. It scares me when I see 'us' pulled apart into various factions at a time when we need to be thinking collectively as a nation and world culture.

What advice do you have for current students or other alumni?

Don't stop learning. And don't think you'll ever figure 'it' out. Oh, yeah, have some fun, go for swim, a surf, and be cool to the next guy.

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