Physics major clinches spot on Olympic swim team

Josh Prenot is the latest Cal Bear to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio after breaking the national record for the 200-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Prenot, a senior physics major, could graduate as early as the upcoming fall semester. During the trials Thursday, he completed his meet with 2:07.17 on the clock, breaking the previous American record of 2:07.42 secured by Eric Shanteau in 2009.

Josh Prenot after securing a spot on the U.S. Olympic swim team

Josh Prenot (Cal Athletics photo)

“Everyone likes having him in class,” says Bob Jacobsen, the dean of undergraduate studies in the College of Letters and Science and a physics professor who taught Prenot in a class in 2014. “He’s great to have around … and a great member of the physics community.”

Claudia Trujillo, student services manager in the physics department and Prenot’s academic adviser, says the swimmer has always been dedicated to his academic performance as well.

“Every since he came in, we have shuffled his schedule to make everything fit,” Trujillo says. “He wants to have a strong showing, academically, too.

“He’s a great example of our outstanding students. He’s studying physics, but he breaks a lot of stereotypes. He’s proof that you can do what you want.”

Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin, two UC Berkeley alums, also qualified to be on Team USA during the trials.

To read more about Prenot’s record-breaking performance, and to learn about other Golden Bears headed to the Olympics, click here.