Danika and Mike Bannasch on their farm with their dogs

Photo: Karin Higgins/UC Davis

The Swimming Professor

by | May 1, 2018 | Office Hours, Spring/Summer 2018

When she’s not researching and teaching organizational behavior, Kimberly Elsbach is often found in the pool.

Elsbach, a professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and Stephen G. Newberry Endowed Chair in Leadership, is a long-distance and open-water swimmer. As an undergraduate at University of Iowa, Elsbach swam Division I, and ever since she has continued to be active.

For three decades, she’s been a member of U.S. Masters Swimming, the national organization for adult swimming. And for the past two years she’s been a long-distance all-star with the group — earning the top scores across all long-distance national championships in her age group for both years.

“Swimming taught me all those things that are really important in life but that you don’t necessarily get in the classroom,” said Elsbach. “It taught me how to be organized, how to be conscientious and responsible, and how to be part of a team.”

Every day, Elsbach attends local workout sessions, and in the summer she often trains in nearby Lake Berryessa.

This year she plans to compete in a 5K off Fire Island in New York and a 10K in Applegate Lake in Oregon, and she said she’d do all the local U.S. Masters open-water swims.

“It’s just a part of my life — there’s eating and sleeping and swimming,” she said. “It’s part of my DNA now.”