Chris Pearson: Three Time National Champion Swimmer


March 25, 2005

ECE senior Chris Pearson lapped up two more honors for the Carnegie Mellon Varsity Swim Team at the 2005 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Championships, defending his 200 yard freestyle title from 2004, winning the 200 yard butterfly, and leading the Tartans to a 6th place victory. He was the University Athletic Association Swimmer of the Year in 2002 and 2005, and part of the 2003-04 First Team Academic All-American Men’s At-Large Team (along with ECE senior Boris Sofman in tennis). As a dean’s list student with 26 all-American certificates, Chris has learned to focus on his goals as a student athlete, diving into success and planning to continue next year in the Integrated M.S./B.S. (IMB) degree program.

Chris Pearson

ECE Senior & Honors Student


Columbia, Maryland



Setting National Records:

  • 2005 NCAA Championship victory in the 200 yard freestyle (1:38.67) and 200 yard butterfly (1:49.56). Also 2nd in the 500 yard freestyle and a member of three top eight relays - 400 yard medley (5th), 800 yard freestyle (4th), and 400 yard freestyle (2nd).
  • 2004 NCAA Championship win in the 200 yard freestyle (1:37.70), 2nd in the 500 yard freestyle (4:26.30) and in the 200 yard butterfly (1:49.60).
  • Anchored four 2004 relays to top five finishes.

ECE Teammates:

Freshmen Mike Bailey from Quinton, VA; Anna Kochalko from Encinitas, CA; and Damian McIntyre of Bethel Park, PA, all plan an ECE major. In the 2005 NCAA Championship, Bailey was a member of the 800 yard freestyle relay, the 200 medley relay, and the 400 yard freestyle relay.

Bobby Colyer, 2004-2005 swim team captain and senior in ECE from Durham, NC, competed in freestyle, breaststroke, and the individual medley last year.

Practice time:

About 17 hours a week. I’ve been swimming since 1991.

Biggest swimming lesson:

Focus. Learning to focus in swim practice helps me focus on my work in school.

Also seen:

Pushing buggy for the Student Dormitory Council at Carnegie Mellon’s spring carnival.

Favorite ECE courses:

I found 18-396, Signals and Systems, very interesting, and I liked the way in which Bruce Krogh taught the course. I liked 18-347 [now 18-447], Introduction to Computer Architecture, (taught by Babak Falsafi) and 18-322, Analysis and Design of Digital Circuits, (with Andres Strojwas) for the projects, a MIPS processor in Verilog for 18-347 and a circuit layout for 18-322.

Challenges and rewards:

The biggest challenge is finding time to get all my work done, make it to practice, and sleep, but it is very rewarding to look back at what I have accomplished.

Future plans:

Bobby and I will both be returning in the fall to complete our master's in the IMB program.

Chris Pearson, national champion swimmer on the CMU Varsity Swim Team.

Pearson diving into success.


Related Links:

Carnegie Mellon Today article