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February 2017 - Clara Smiddy

February 2017

Clara Smiddy

BA International Studies (Political Economy and Development); BA Economics ‘18

Hometown: Miami, FL

Affiliations: Team representative, NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Member, University of Michigan Swimming and Diving Team Member, US National Swimming Team

“As a swimmer on the University of Michigan Swim and Dive team, I have been given several opportunities to compete internationally. Apart from racing in Dubai, UAE for the Junior World Championships and Toronto, Canada for the Pan American games, I was able to travel to Nanjing, China for 3 weeks for the Youth Olympic Games. During this experience I lived in a village with over a thousand athletes from all over the world. I observed how these athletes interacted with each other and those from other countries and gained a greater awareness of just how big and diverse our world is. Though there were many differences in culture and mannerisms, I also recognized their same love for sport and their resolve to reach out and learn more about each other.

Here at the Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, this atmosphere is even more apparent. I eat, live, and train with swimmers from all over the world. My teammates come from Honk Kong, Singapore, China, Austria, Denmark, Canada, Australia, Spain, Japan, Ireland and New Zealand. It is a very special and unique opportunity to go to practice and be exposed to so many different cultures. Despite their differing backgrounds, they all share the same passion and determination that is required to succeed as student-athletes at the University of Michigan. We work together-- challenging and learning from each other every day both on and off the pool deck. Through my experience here at the University of Michigan, I have realized that this togetherness is an implementation of international relations in everyday life. By working with each other-- helping and learning from them, the possibilities for improvement in our world are endless.”

Future plans: “I would like to gain more international experience abroad and use it to eventually achieve a position that will allow me to positively affect the globe.”