NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Born in the Bronx, raised in New Rochelle and trained at the Badgers Swim Club in Larchmont, Cristina Teuscher honed her swimming skills in Westchester pools and chased her aquatic dreams to Olympic gold in the 1996 Atlanta Games, then followed by winning a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
“I don’t think I will ever experience the same amount of intensity and focus on a goal than when I was training for the Olympics,” said Teuscher, a 1996 graduate of New Rochelle High School, where she was an All-Section, All-State and All-American swimmer. “When you finally get there it’s almost surreal – the extreme anxiety, then the elation in winning gold (1996), then bronze (2000).”
Teuscher won a gold medal as a member of the record-setting 800 freestyle relay at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta at 18. Four years later, she medaled again at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, earning a bronze in the 200 individual medley, while serving as captain of the U.S. team.
Teuscher graduated from Columbia University just before making the U.S. Olympic Team in 2000. She was an All-American and four-time NCAA champion, won 12 Ivy League titles, set 17 Lion records, and was named the Honda Award recipient as the 1999-2000 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
But when asked to recount the most vivid memories of her Games, the 34-year-old, who most recently coached the Yale University swim team, recalled the euphoric events she experienced.
“You’re like a kid in a candy shop; checking out the village, picking up free clothes and free food, and, of course, trading pins with other athletes,” Teuscher said. “Eating McDonald’s at 3 a.m. (in Atlanta), hanging out with the First Family after we won the gold and rushing to the stadium field for closing ceremonies in Atlanta.”
Following her graduation from Columbia in 2000, Teuscher worked at the Robin Hood Foundation in its 9/11 Relief Effort and had a two-year stint as an analyst with Ziff Brothers Investments. She recently left her position at Yale and is re-entering the financial world to pursue her career.
Teuscher, who is on summer vacation for the next two weeks, said she will be watching the Games as a fan.
“It’s so much more relaxing to sit back with friends and watch these great athletes,” Teuscher said. “It’s great to know that I was part of it. The memories will never fade.”