At Miami University, Quarantine Meant Tough Start for International Swimmers

Miami University

At Miami University, Quarantine Meant Tough Start for International Swimmers

By Madison Hoehn, Swimming World Intern 

For several international members of Miami University’s swimming and diving program, their first few weeks in the United States proved difficult.

From August to early September, Miami University welcomed back international swimmers by placing them in a two-week quarantine upon arrival, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The swim and dive coaching staff picked up the athletes from the airport and placed them into the Miami Inn, a glorified dorm hall-turned-hotel. The Inn provided all athletes with a single room and bathroom to live in. On-campus dining services also distributed food to each room three times a day.

“I have dietary restrictions and was glad that Miami provided me with meals that met my dietary needs,” incoming freshman, Nicole Maier from Germany, said in an interview about her experience.

However, many would agree that the hardest part about quarantine was the lack of social interaction. From the moment the athletes were placed into the Inn, they could not directly socialize for 14 days. For some, this was their first time ever stepping foot onto American soil and being away from their families.

“I was a little sad and I felt alone, because it was the first time that I was so far from my family and I didn’t have the option for going outside,” Sara Lahrach from Spain pointed out.

Maier also agreed that, “The toughest part was not being able to go outside and walk and such. I got really homesick because I did not have any distractions in my own room.”

Additionally, Miami started online classes on August 17. Any international athletes still in quarantine began their first semester in isolation. And while online school proves to be a struggle for most, not having English as a first language made the conversion to American college even harder.

However, the Miami swim and dive team still made an effort to make their new international teammates feel at home. Members of the team stood below the athletes’ windows to give them a chance to socialize after all. Others talked to them over Zoom or FaceTime.

“Doing the video calls made me feel so welcome,” Lahrach said. Maier also mentioned that seeing her teammates outside made the quarantine much easier to bear. Still, not all incoming swimmers were able to experience this welcoming. Freshmen Honor Brodie-Foy drove down from Canada and completed the quarantine with her grandparents. Being isolated off campus still proved to be equally as challenging.

“Everyone else was already (on campus) and getting to know one another. I felt like I was missing out on opportunities to meet everyone,” she said.

Because of the CDC regulations at the time, Miami University was not the only school to mandate this rule.

The University of Rochester, a Division 3 school in Monroe County, NY, also called for any incoming international students to quarantine. Schools with high volumes of international students within their population had to make similar decisions. The University of South Carolina also enforced these types of protocols. They, too, have since rescinded them.

Now that the CDC regulations have changed, swimming programs across the nation are focusing on training and competing once again.

Miami University has yet to begin organized practices, but aims to start within the month. This is yet another barrier in the way of the swim program getting to know their international teammates. However, the RedHawks continue to stay optimistic and look forward to being able to train with their new and diverse teammates.

4 comments

  1. avatar
    Pamela Peloquin

    Bravo!! 😉😊

  2. avatar
    Julie Barr

    Great story Madison. Have a great season RedHawks!

  3. avatar
    Amy Stevens

    Great story! 👍🏻👍🏻

  4. avatar
    Randy Peloquin

    Nicely written article Madison, thanks for keeping us informed! Look forward to reading more from you!

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