Longtime UCSB swimming coach Gregg Wilson put it best when describing Chris Peterson, the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table’s Scholar Athlete of the Year from the university.
Said Wilson at Monday’s SBART press luncheon: “Chris is the standard our program has set, not just in the pool but in the classroom. He’s a great example of what you can do if you really focus.”
It’s easy to see why Peterson is considered the model of a student athlete at UCSB. He’s had a highly successful swimming career that’s included breaking the school records of Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak in the 100 and 50 freestyle, earning a medal at the Pac-12 Championships (third in the 100 free) and qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Among his accolades as a student: he carries a 3.51 grade point average as a mechanical engineering major; he’s made the engineering dean’s honor roll four times; received the UCSB Golden Eagle Award for academic and athletic achievement and has been named to the all conference All-Academic First Team two years in a row.
Peterson’s intelligence and focus in his field of study helped him develop a two-staged deployable arm boom for Northrop Grumman aerospace.
His future plans include pursing an Olympic dream and a career in the aerospace industry.
Peterson thanked the Athletic Round Table for its strong support of student athletes like himself.
“You guys are like a home away from home,” he said. “It’s nice to have a group of people that support athletics, especially for those of us who come from other places in California and around the nation.”