Setters Profile: Nianzhong Liu

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JAMES MIRANDA, Sports Editor

Swimming is not just a sport or a time-filler for Pace freshman Nianzhong Liu—it is a lifestyle.

Liu swims because he wants to have a healthy lifestyle. His parents signed him up for sports at five, and he has been swimming towards different goals his whole life.

“It was initially for fitness,” said Liu, who is of Chinese descent. “I was weak when I was younger and I never pursued any sport, so in order to have a healthy lifestyle my mom and dad signed me up for tennis and swimming.”

He practiced both sports recreationally until he was nine-years-old where he took up competitive swimming at the advise of his coach who saw potential in him. His coaches pushed him hard to succeed and from there is where his passion for swimming spawned.

“We train so much every day, if you didn’t love it you’d be miserable,” Liu said. “I know if I don’t train hard I won’t get the result I want in meets. After a hard practice and I know I didn’t waste my time, then it’s like a sense of achievement.”

His gifted athletic ability should not come as a surprise, however. His mother and father are both athletes. His mother played national basketball for the Beijing team and his father is someone who keeps himself in shape.

The knack for training has allowed success his first year competing in the states.

He has won six rookie of the week honors as of February 7—four NE-10 and two ECAC. He also placed first and broke the 100-yard breaststroke record with a time of 56.13 last Sat., Feb. 6 at the NE-10 championships.

“I’ve never really been satisfied with my times because I know I can potentially swim faster,” said Liu, who swims breaststroke, freestyle, butterfly, and medley. “I don’t have a big reaction [to the awards].”

Liu still holds a quiet and humble demeanor even through all the success of his rookie campaign.

But it is not his first time on a stage like this, either. The Athens, Greece native competed at a national level in Greece and was crowned as champion twice, in 2012 and 2013.

Being from a different country, the transition from Greece to America has been relatively easy for him. The computer science major is far away from home, but has found a new family amongst the swimming and diving teams.

“It doesn’t shock me at all because back in Greece I went to an international school,” Liu said. “I have friends from all over the world. For me [adjusting] was nothing.”

Both teams have come together this season to form what Head Coach Dan Allen has referred to as the best team he has seen on paper. Currently, there are people from nine different countries and he plans on visiting his new family wherever they reside.

A lot of the things in America are firsts for him, but swimming is definitely his way of living.