WATCH: Florida Tech Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Swimmer Reston Bartlett
By Jerry Durney, Florida Tech News Bureau // February 12, 2023
Bartlett is majoring in Design and Manufacturing
ABOVE VIDEO: Being a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field. In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, we are featuring Panther men’s swimmer Reston Bartlett, a graduate student majoring in Design and Manufacturing.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Being a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field. In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, we are featuring Panther men’s swimmer Reston Bartlett, a graduate student majoring in Design and Manufacturing.
Having made the trek across the state to Tech from Lakeland, Reston’s top solo performance so far this season was a third-place finish in the 100 versus Lynn in October and a third-place finish in the 50 Free versus Florida Southern on January 28th.
He’s also helped five different relay teams to top-three finishes in 22-23.
Bartlett has been named to the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s and Florida Tech Athletic Director’s Honor Roll after each of his first four seasons at Florida Tech, including a 4.0 GPA in 2021.
We talked with Reston about his career post-graduation, how a summer camp sparked his interest in Tech and his hopes for the upcoming SSC Championships.
■ What’s your major at Florida Tech and why did you choose this? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to do?
Currently I’m a graduate student in design and manufacturing and my undergrad was in mechanical engineering. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved building and making stuff. So, engineering has kind of always been my choice and since I got into engineering, I kind of like the designing and that sort of aspect more than the actual building portion. So, I went with design and manufacturing is my graduate degree.
■ What was it about Florida Tech that drew you here?
I actually came here for a summer camp in 2015 I think and I kind of felt “hey this is a pretty cool school!” as a kid. Ever since then, I kind of knew this would be my university.
When I started looking for schools, obviously Florida Tech was on the top of my list because of that and they had great academics. They had my major and they had a great swim team, which is really all that I was looking for.
■ How do you plan to use your degree after graduation?
Currently, I’ve got a job lined up in Georgia with the Air Force Civil Engineering on one of their bases there in Warner Robins, I’m in the design group there.
I really like the Air Force and that side of government work, even though it’s not technically my field being civil engineering, but I like it because it exposes me to a lot of different areas of mechanical engineering and civil engineering. So, that experience gained in all those different areas is going to be very useful, I think.
■ You said that as you’ve learned during your time here that you’ve wanted to move into the design field, what are some of the exciting projects that you’ve been able to work on in classes here?
Number one has to be senior design. That was such a thrown into the deep end, I guess you could say, sort of experience in just “Oh, here you go. Here’s a topic, build it,”.
That was really, really fun. We learned pretty much every aspect from kind of narrowing down our topic and trying to figure out what we need to be researching, what we need to be thinking about, to then designing and trying to figure out how to solve the problem and narrowing down our problem while we’re solving because we’re coming up with more sort of problems within our problem, so to speak.
Then obviously building it, was the fun part, given the machine shop work and all that kind of stuff. That whole process really exposed me to the whole lifecycle of making a thing.
■ Your season can run between five and six months long with a lot of practices and road trips in between, how do you keep everything balanced once the season starts?
Honestly, you’re kind of forced into it, right? When you’ve got that many practices and you’re trying to stay on top of your sleep as well, you don’t have a choice in terms of, you have to get the stuff done.
Me personally, I just try to get my stuff done on the weekends as much as possible because I’m not as tired if I’m being honest. I don’t have classes, I only have one practice so trying to cram all that in while I’m feeling fresh is kind of a key for me.
■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for what you’re doing now and what do you take from the pool that you apply to your studies?
The number one thing is definitely work ethic. In any sport, you’ve got to have an absolutely fantastic work ethic to try and just put your best foot forward and I feel like that’s really helped me in classes and my internships, and my hopefully my job as well, to just try and make a good impression on my employers and do the best I can.
■ What advice would you give to an athlete coming to Florida Tech that has an interest in Design and Manufacturing?
I think the advice I’d give is that being an athlete and a student, it’s pretty difficult, right? So, make sure you enjoy your major. I know for me in undergrad, I kind of thought I’d be interested in design and then once I got in my graduate program, I really knew like this is the degree for me.
But I can imagine if I didn’t like what I was doing, I would be miserable, but I love my sport, I love my team, and I love my degree. So, all that together really helps me handle the workload and do the best I can.
■ What have you enjoyed the most about your time with the swimming program?
My favorite time of year is definitely the conference (championships). The energy there is just unreal. Whatever event or relay is going on, you’re stepping up behind the block, and we have 40-50 people crammed behind the end of that lane, just all screaming for that relay. It doesn’t matter what kind of relay it is, girls, boys, doesn’t matter.
Pretty much everyone who’s not competing is behind that lane just giving it everything and cheering. It’s almost like a different world almost and that’s something that I’ll never forget.
■ What expectations do you have for the team with the SSC Championships coming up soon?
I’m really excited! Coach David and Laura have been pushing us really, really hard ever since the Panther Invite and we had great times at Panther and I think they’ve been pushing us even harder after Panther.
So once we hit this break, once we get rested and recovered, I really can’t wait to see where we’re at!
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