Swimming Abroad
Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program participant from Egypt in the middle of a swimming race
The Egyptian makes some serious waves when he races!

Swim like an Egyptian?

The first half highlight to Mazen’s American high school experience was being on the Flagstaff High School swim team. Mazen, who is from Egypt, decided early on to get involved in his new high school via participation in team sports, where he figured swimming was his best bet. After all, his home city of Cairo is bordered by the Red and Mediterranean Seas, as well as the Nile River, so swimming was not new to him, right?!  Wrong! He didn’t realize how different swimming as a competitive sport really is. He had to learn each of the required swim strokes, flip turns, diving, etc. right from the start, and his first time on the 50-meter freestyle was 2:33.  

Mazen didn’t give up and continued to work hard so that he could compete with his teammates in swim meets with other schools. In the end, not only did Mazen make new friends, he also reduced his 50-meter freestyle time to 26 seconds, earning him the “Most Improved Swimmer of the Year” award and the opportunity to compete as an alternate in the state championship meet. When asked about this experience, Mazen summed it up by saying, “It's not a year in your life, it's a life in a year!”

—Allison Eckert (AZ), host mom of Mazen (YES, Egypt)