Kaitlin Sandeno was a four-time Olympic medalist, two-time NCAA champion and 12-time All-American in her three years at USC and served two years as a volunteer assistant coach.
One of the world's greatest swimmers, Sandeno competed at USC from 2002-2004 before turning professional prior to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. It was a move that paid off for Sandeno, who was one of the stars of the Games. She won gold as the anchor of the world-record setting American 800m free relay, won silver in the 400m IM in an American record time (4:34.95) and won bronze in the 400m free (4:06.19). She was also fourth in the 200m fly. Sandeno competed in six events at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, winning the 400m free in 4:08.07. She was also second in both the 400m IM (4:40.39) and the 200m fly (2:09.94), third in the 200m free (1:59.55) and sixth in the 800m free (8:32.74).
At the 2005 World Championships, Sandeno won gold as part of the 800m free relay and won bronze in the 400m IM (4:40.85).
At the 2004 NCAA Championships, Sandeno won her first two NCAA titles and came within a hair of winning a third. She set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA and USC record en route to winning the 400m IM (4:30.44, scm) and broke the NCAA, U.S. Open and USC records by finishing first in the 200m IM (2:08.11, scm). She set the USC record in the 200m fly (2:06.02) and was only 0.05 from first. Despite that, she was still the meet's highest scorer with 57 individual points. She won her fifth and sixth career Pac-10 titles at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships, winning the 400y IM (4:05.74) and the 200y fly (1:52.63) in USC and Pac-10 meet records. She was also second in the 200y IM.
Sandeno had a huge sophomore season in 2003, swimming healthy after battling injuries as a freshman. She turned in a team-high five All-American performances, including three top-3 finishes. She finished second in the 500y free (4:39.31, a USC record) and third in both the 400y IM (4:07.20) and the 1650y free (15:58.58). Sandeno also led off the Trojans' third-place 800y free relay and their eighth-place 400y medley relay in addition to swimming on USC's 400y free relay. At the 2003 Pac-10s, Sandeno won titles in the 500y free (4:39.50), 1650y free (15:54.51, a USC record) and the 400y IM (4:09.14). She also anchored USC's winning 800y free relay, becoming the first Trojan to win a combined four Pac-10 titles since Sue Habernigg won a combined five in 1985. Sandeno won her sixth career national title in the 400m IM and seventh overall at the 2003 U.S. Spring Nationals. Later in the summer, at the 2003 U.S. Summer Nationals, Sandeno earned the meet's individual high point award as she won three individual and one relay title. She took firsts in the 400m IM (4:40.82), 200m fly (2:08.78) and the 200m IM (2:12.97).
Despite a severe back strain that limited Sandeno's training until the final four weeks of the season, she was still among USC's top swimmers as a 2002 freshman and was a three-time All-American at the NCAAs
Sandeno had a spectacular career while a prep at El Toro High in Lake Forest, Calif., and with the Nellie Gail Saddleback Valley Club. She competed in three of the most grueling events at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, winning a bronze in the 800m free. She finished fourth in the 400m IM and sixth in the 200m fly. Before graduating from El Toro, Sandeno won her fifth and sixth career U.S. national titles at the 2001 U.S. Spring National, taking the 400m IM and the 200m fly. At the 2001 World Championships, Sandeno competed in four events, taking bronzes in the 200m fly (2:08.52) and 800m free (8:31.45). She was also fifth in the 400m IM (4:43.13) and sixth in the 1500m free (16:28.91). She is among only six women ever to qualify for four events at the Worlds (joining, among others, former Trojans Sippy Woodhead and Kristine Quance-Julian and former USC coach Janet Evans).