University of Chicago student is first female Olympic swimmer from Haiti

University of Chicago via Chicago Tribune

A University of Chicago swimmer is set to become the first female swimmer in Haiti’s Olympic history, according to a Shannon Ryan story in the Chicago Tribune.

Naomy Grand’Pierre, a junior for the Maroons, began swimming with far less competitive goals than the Olympics; Her mother had three relatives who died in drowning accidents, and wanted to help her children avoid that fate.

One of five children both to Haitian parents, the Atlanta-raised Grand’Pierre tried to achieve a qualifying time through two competitions but didn’t reach her goal. Fortunately, she booked her trip to Rio through the IOC’s universality rule. It’s in place to help a wider variety of nations participate in the Olympics.

With Grand’Pierre’s mother helping the Haitian Olympic Federation in starting a swim team, perhaps its fitting that Naomy is its first female swimmer. And she hopes that helps the sport catch on in Haiti.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“It’s been super awesome,” Grand’Pierre said. “I was going through a couple comments (and saw), ‘My son is swimming and he is Haitian-American and he thought he was the only one.’ It’s cool to see there are other athletes, not just swimmers, of Haitian descent, and I guess they’re encouraged to see people stepping up and representing Haiti. There’s been a lot of positive feedback.”

Grand’Pierre will compete in the 50M freestyle and at the very least will inspire Haiti’s number of swimmers to grow from her estimation of “1 percent”.