Pace Swimming and Diving Embraces Immigrants

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Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

Pace Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams have created a trend in recent years of recruiting players internationally and Head Coach Dan Allen wouldn’t have it any other way.

“In Division-II you get a lot of kids that express interest internationally,” Allen said. “So I do not shy away from recruiting kids from different countries.”

Nine of the 29 collective swimmers and divers are international students. announced its 2016-2017 Preseason All-Conference team for swimmers and divers in September and six of them were Pace athletes, four of them were international.

Andresious Cyprianos from Zimbabwe, Nianzhong Liu from Greece, Brian Sosa from Columbia, and Jana Ciric from Serbia.

Ciric is a freshmen who came to America back in September.

“I looked up Pace through,” said Ciric, who is a freestyle swimmer. “I heard it was a good school for swimming and I wanted to come to America.”

Ciric had an extensive background in swimming before Pace; she was a member of the Serbian national team since 2011, but her main priority coming to Pace was not to swim.

“The academic standards here at Pace were great,” Ciric said. “I’m in cyber school and the program for cyber security was really cool, so that is why I really wanted to come here.”

Athletic abilities are not the first thing that Allen notes when he looks at a swimmer, rather their academics.

“For me, it is not just recruiting internationals, its recruiting the student first,” Allen said. “I find kids that want to come here for the academics first, then the swimming.”

Allen puts more stock into the character and the personality of his swimmers.

“This is how I want to build my team,” Allen said. “At the end of the day they are not graduating in a degree in swimming, they are students first.”

The priority of academics has shown in the teams collective GPA.

“Our team GPA is very good, last spring our men’s team had a collective GPA of 3.35,” Allen said. “Our girls finished the school year with a 3.28.”

The goal for this year’s team is to have a GPA of 3.40.

Allen also noted to the community and sense of friendship between the international students as a reason for their academic success.

The experienced international students have been giving a helping hand to new students like Ciric, and she believes that this has made the transition much easier.

“A lot of my teammates, we just keep talking about how different it is in America and we bond because of it,” Ciric said. “We will say stuff like ‘what is American cheese, we don’t have that’ so things like that.”