DANBURY, Conn. – Oscar Oldbury-Swift, a 22-year-old international exchange student from Manchester, England, came to Western Connecticut State University through the International Exchange Student Program (ISEP) to study business — and ended up breaking collegiate and personal best swimming records as a member of the WestConn Men’s Swimming & Diving Team.
Before coming to Danbury, Oldbury-Swift majored in International Business Management at University of Chester, which, like WCSU, originated as a teacher’s college before becoming a public university. He chose to undertake his international college experience at WCSU because of its proximity to New York City and the fact that he could continue his business management studies at WCSU’s Ancell School of Business. Considered a senior at WCSU, Oldbury-Swift will have one more year of study when he returns home to finish his degree because this year abroad is considered a “sandwich year.”
Oldbury-Swift previously swam at the national level in the U.K at age16. He had not competed much since then, and decided to get involved again once he arrived at WCSU.
“When I came here, I thought I’d give it a go and if nothing else, it would be another group of friends here for me,” he said. “Looking back now as we have reached the end of the season, it has been one of the best things I ever did,” he added.
In February, Oldbury-Swift shattered the school record in the 200-yard individual medley relay to lead the WestConn men’s and women’s swim teams on the second day of the Little East Conference championships in Boston. The men also broke school records in the team 200 freestyle and 400 medley relays.
Upon returning to campus from the LEC competition in Boston, Oldbury-Swift emailed ISEP Coordinator Donna Warner to share his good news. Warner is the primary liaison for the ISEP exchange students and helps them acclimate to the campus community and being in the United States.
“Personally, I was over the moon with my swims, breaking my own 200m IM record by a further 8 seconds, breaking the 400m IM record by 13 seconds and my own 200m breaststroke record by a further 9 seconds,” he wrote. “As a men’s team, we broke three relay records, bringing my total to six university records! On top of this I made six final events and had two podium finishes.”
In addition to well-deserved bragging rights, Oldbury-Swift’s record-breaking performance earned him a feature story on the WestConn Athletics web site, and a little notoriety around campus.
When he’s not in business classes or the O’Neill Center pool, Oldbury-Swift enjoys going away on weekends to see more of the U.S. while he’s here. He’s visited Vermont, New Mexico and California so far, with upcoming trips to Chicago, Las Vegas and Arizona. Oldbury-Swift also enjoys participating in Program Activities Council (PAC) events on campus such as Bonfire Night, ice skating and his favorite PAC event: BINGO, which he hopes to win at least once before he returns to the U.K.
ISEP Coordinator Warner said that Oldbury-Swift likes to collect t-shirts when he attends campus events, and they’ll undoubtedly make good souvenirs when he returns home.
Warner said the best part of her job is making the international exchange students feel welcome on campus. “I enjoy meeting students from different countries,” she said. “People showed such kindness to me when I studied abroad, and I want to pay it forward to the students studying abroad here at WCSU.”
The kindness is appreciated.
“All the staff members at WCSU have been super nice and accommodating to make sure I have the best experience during my one year abroad,” Oldbury-Swift said. “I will always think of the memories I created at WCSU and hope to return from time to time as a proud alumnus to see old friends.”
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