In the Locker Room with Miguel Siwady, World Junior Swimming Championships Competitor


Courtesy of Oberlin Athletics

Miguel Siwady in Lane 7 swimming at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.

While most first-years were adjusting to classes and attending meetings with their Peer Advising Leaders at the beginning of the school year, Miguel Siwady was swimming at the 2022 FINA World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru where he placed 22nd in the 1,500-meter finals. He represented Honduras, where he currently has the three fastest 1,500 meter times out of anyone in the country for 2022 according to Swimcloud. Siwady is excited to study in the 3-2 engineering program, and hopes to make an impact on the swim team’s season, which officially started this week.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What was swimming in high school like, and how did you hear about Oberlin?

My school didn’t have a swim team, so I mostly did club swimming. It was called Delfines Sampedranos, one of the best teams in Honduras. I trained two times a day, three times a week. It was a really big team, but I was one of the oldest, so I had a sort of captain role in my team along with one of my training partners, who’s also my age. I heard of Oberlin because of a recruitment email from Coach Alex de la Peña. When I got that email, I researched the school. I liked its engineering program and how I could also study liberal arts here.

What is your specialty event and why?

My specialty event is the 1,500-meter freestyle. In Honduras, not many people swim at that event, so when I was little, I decided that I was going to be good in that event because no one else was. My older brother helped with that because he also swam in that event. He was a role model to me.

How has Oberlin supported you in your training for the World Junior Championships?
The beginning of the competition was at the same time as the international students’ orientation. I had to train here for a few days, even though the season hadn’t started. Coach Alex and Coach Ben Corley opened up the pool at 6 a.m. and guided me throughout my last week of training before the world championships. It was really important because it gave me a few pointers on what I needed to do to improve my technique and be fast overall.

How long were you in Peru for World Juniors, and what were the most memorable experiences?

I was there Sept. 3–5. My most memorable experiences were getting to know all these different swimmers from different parts of the world, as well as getting to swim in the biggest stage for the age group that I’m in. I got to see the best hundred freestyle swimmer in the world. His name is David Popovici and watching him swim was incredible, like a different experience. Recently, like a month ago, he broke the world record. He’s only 18 years old, so it was really cool.

What else have you done this summer?

After I graduated, I traveled to Florida and swam, swam, swam there with the swim team for a month and a half. While I was not swimming, I was spending time with my father and having some time together with my family before I went to school here.

How was the adjustment to college after attending World Juniors?

It’s been easy because the swim team is very welcoming and very big. The captains are nice people and they will help if you have a problem. We always have these Stevie sit-downs. After training, we all go to Stevie as a team and eat, and we have get-togethers to get to know each other. It’s a pretty open team, almost like a family. My goal is to have a positive impact on the team and help overall, especially in the championships. The first practice in the pool yesterday was nice because we got a feeling of the pool and swimming together for the first time.

Have you thought of any potential majors or minors?

Other than engineering, I’m interested in the Cinema Studies department of Oberlin. I know it’s very broad — there’s even a class dedicated to Hong Kong cinema, which is very interesting.