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In the second episode of, “The Swimnerd Show: Swimming History”, we speak with Bill Ripol, childhood friend and QDD teammate of Jeff Rouse. A former ACC Champion in the 400 IM, Bill swam for Mark Bernadino at the University of Virginia from 1986 through 1990.

Swim Sam and I got to speak to Bill about several things including…

…the worst practice(s) of his life.
…being a parent of a swimmer.
…some advice on properly choosing the right college for you.
…the excitement that Todd Desorbo & Co. have brought back to the University of Virginia.

But we mainly talk about Jeff Rouse.

Bill Ripol & Jeff Rouse

QDD threw a little good luck party for Bill & Jeff before they left for Olympic Trials in 1988.

We talk about…

…the first time he met Jeff. (Of course, it was at swim practice.)
…how at QDD there was a great group of guys (spanning several years apart) that really pushed each other. The work ethic was passed down from the older kids to the younger kids.
…another story of genuine humility that really seems to be the ethos of Jeff Rouse.
…sitting on the bulkhead at 1990 NCAA Championships with Jeff (Stanford) and Mark Lenzi (Indiana) — 3 guys that grew up swimming for Quantico together. Jeff won the 100 Back that year in 47.50 while Mark won the 1 meter with a score of 599.00. 

Bill was extremely humble — something that Don Regenbogen also exuded. Themes of friendship and team run heavy throughout the interview.

From left to right: Bill Ripol, Dennis Miller, and Jeff Rouse attending Don Regenbogen’s wedding.

Favorite Quote

“For me, I found that if I worked hard I went fast and I liked going fast and I liked winning.” – Bill Ripol

Remembering Mark Lenzi

Mark Lenzi passed away suddenly in April 2012 at just 43 years old. He won Gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona (3 meter) and Bronze (3 meter) at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. He didn’t begin diving until he was 16 years old!

“He was the essence of the Cinderalla story, so to speak. He really shouldn’t have accomplished what he did – especially in a sport like diving, where they start so young. It says a lot for how talented he was and how hard he worked.” – Jeff Rouse

A mural honoring Mark was just recently dedicated earlier this summer (May 2018) at the Jeff Rouse Swim Center

The mural was designed and created through a partnership with Stafford County Public Schools led by Stafford High School fine arts teacher Linda Arney and a group of students. Jeff (Class of 1988) and Mark (Class of 1986) are both graduates of Stafford High School. 

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