Catching up with... Markus Rogan

Oct. 27, 2009

Markus Rogan, a former All-American swimmer at Stanford from 2000 to 2004, recently finished 1-2 with fellow alum Peter Marshall at the World Cup in South Africa. Since leaving Stanford, Rogan has set two world records, and earned six gold medals, two silvers and a bronze at various international competitions. He recently set the Austrian record in the 100-meter backstroke, finishing second to Marshall at the World Cup in October, 2009. He is also a two-time Olympian, swimming for Switzerland.

Q: You and Peter raced at the World Cup recently, what is it like to race against a former Cardinal teammate?
A: “I have raced Peter 48 times on four continents. I have lost 47 times. That's a success rate of 2.1%. In this economy, that's pretty good! And in our sport, there is only one thing better than standing on the Olympic podium. Standing on the Olympic podium with a teammate. I hope Peter feels that way too as we prepare for London.”

Q: What was your most memorable moment at Stanford?
A: “My most memorable Stanford memory, aside from finding it absolutely natural that half the swim team was in the crowd right behind the Olympic podium I was honored to stand on in Athens, is this morning. We had our alumni swim meet, and had guys from all ages unite to compete against the current team. Quite more meaningful than your average day of professional swimming.”

Q: Tell us more about what you are doing...
A: “I work for Tesfaye on three dynamics for three reasons...  One) public awareness. I wear their logo and am starting a designer clothing line to promote it... Two) financial. I ask for a donation in exchange for every interview I give. Austrian national television just made an offer and the Washington Post followed through last month... and three) personal. My own Ethiopian child will surely reach college! My agent Ronnie Leitgeb and my great friend Matt Hansen have been instrumental in the architecture of this idea. I will go to Ethiopia in the beginning of February to see our impact on the ground. And to be inspired for more.

Q: What does Tesfaye mean?
A: “Tesfaye means 'my hope' … My hope, tesfaye (ethiopian translation) works to guarantee access... to education for ethiopian children. As a stanford alumni, I feel the value of such an endeavor every day.

Q: Where can people get more information or support this cause?
A: Our website is and anyone interested in donating can email me directly at .

 The most direct way is to sponsor a child’s education.  The contribution is €27 a month.  Of that €27, only €1 of it goes to overhead and administration.  Which is another reason I like the charity:  such a significant portion of one’s contribution goes directly to the child in need.  The people who run the charity do it for free. They try to get phone and internet communications donated, as well as required travel and other operational expenses donated in kind, sometime successfully and sometimes not, it’s still a challenging economy.

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