PHOENIX, Arizona, July 24. DARIAN Townsend joined 20 other foreigners from 10 other countries in taking the U.S. Citizenship oath today at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in Phoenix, officially becoming an American citizen.
Townsend, dressed sharply in a dark blue suit, recited the Oath of Allegiance proudly and held a small American flag in his hands during the hour-long ceremony attended by close friends and colleagues. This was the end of the long process the South Africa-born Olympic champion has endured in the past five months, enabling him to participate at the U.S. swimming nationals and compete for a spot on the international racing team.
In addition to reciting the oath, Townsend and the other new citizens said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The ceremony also included a video message from President Barack Obama, a live performance of “America the Beautiful” and the awarding of a special certificate detailing each person’s new status as a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Watch the video below to experience the highlights of the ceremony: