March 27, 2016
By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word
Youssef Hammoud’s competitive swimming career may have ended this weekend in the NCAA men’s championships held at Georgia Tech, but his connection with the Yellow Jackets is likely to continue.
Hammoud wrapped up his official time as a Jacket Saturday when he finished 27th in the 100 yard freestyle in 43.30 seconds at the McAuley Aquatic Center. He’s not done with Tech, though.
The 6-foot-6 senior hopes to graduate in December with a degree in computer science and rather than abandon the pool, he’d like to stay wet and help. Part of the reason he transferred from Auburn after his sophomore year was because he saw the swimming and program improving. He’d like to keep stroking that way.
“I figured that since I’m a computer science major and Tech was one of the best if not the best, that was the major consideration,” Hammoud said of his transfer decision. “Also, it’s the best pool in the country and I saw potential in the team and how it’s getting better.
“The year before I came, the team was seventh [in the ACC] without Louisville in the conference. Last year we were sixth with Louisville included, and this year we were fifth. I think the team is going uphill from now on . . . I would like to stay around and help out.”
Hammoud’s covered a lot of ground outside of the pool. A native of Alexandria, Egypt, he’s making the most of his international experience in and out of the pool while helping Tech’s growing program under head coach Courtney Hart Shealy.
The Jackets finished the NCAAs in 37th place with eight points scored by junior diver Brad Homza with his 11th-place finish in the 1-meter springboard and 14th-place finish in the platform.
Tech sent three swimmers to the national championships.
Hammoud also finished 36th in the 100 butterfly (47.17) and 42nd in the 500 freestyle (20.01).
Sophomore Alex Kimpel finished 24th in the 100 breaststroke (1:56.37), 42nd in the 100 breaststroke (54.34) and 47th in the 200 individual medley (1:48.83).
Sophomore Moises Loschi of Italy was to compete in the 200 breast, 100 breast and 1,650 freestyle but suffered medical issues ahead of the NCAAs.
Hammoud didn’t swim his best times in his final meet after peaking with three personal bests a few weeks ago at the ACC championships, yet had a great experience. He swam on two relay teams for Tech at last year’s NCAAs, and this year was better than that.
“I didn’t make this meet this before individually,” he said. “I feel like the ACCs had more pressure and stress because we have the whole team there . . . Here, we have our own locker rooms. We know everything in the pool. We use the blocks every day.”
Hammoud doesn’t know his future yet. He wants to go into software engineering, and has a leg up on a couple internship possibilities for this summer. Upon graduating, he’ll weigh his options and make a move. Or not.
He might just stay in Atlanta, and stick around the Jackets for a while longer.
“If I can find a job here, then I will stay and get some experience…and eventually go back home,” Hammoud said. “The program is getting better, and getting stronger and the coaches are recruiting better.
“The returning guys have a good mindset. The freshmen coming in and the seniors want to keep improving…I would like to work individually with people.”