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Swimming Her Way To The Top: Howard Swimmer Competes At Summer World Championships

Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson takes a selfie at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson is a rising sophomore at Howard University. This past June, Thompson set out to represent her home country of The Bahamas at the International Swimming Federation’s (FINA) World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

The World Championships are held annually for aquatic sports, including swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, artistic swimming, and water polo. More than 200 countries participate in the event. This year, the event spanned over two weeks, from June 18 to July 3, 2022. 

Thompson participated in the 200 IM, 100 Free, and relays. When speaking with Thompson, she described the experience to be one like no other. “I was able to see a new level and new side to my sport and was therefore even more motivated to do my best and stay committed. Although I knew there would be all kinds of Olympians and world record holders, I realized that just like me, they are only human, and that is what broke the idea that becoming like them was possible.” 

Thompson took this previous season as the time to improve her skills in the water. With her help, Howard University’s women’s swimming and diving team broke three school records at the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championships in Geneva, Ohio this past February. With a time of 2:22.52, she broke the school record in the 200 Breaststroke. Her first season with the Bison was a big success, swimming her way to the top of the school’s record books. In addition to holding a pair of school benchmarks in the 200 Breaststroke and 800 Free Relay, she appeared in the top 10 leaderboards 10 times.

Her achievements this past season have placed the utmost confidence in her coach, team, and Bison community. She points out that her first year at Howard was a “learning experience”. She went on to say: “I was able to learn more discipline within my sport and was able to have the opportunity to experience college swimming and in that found some things that I could use to improve my training for international meets.” 

With that, Thompson went on to showcase her best efforts. “My overall takeaway from this experience was that wherever I go and whatever opportunity I am able to experience, I belong and that I too have earned my place there. To know that with discipline and commitment, that I can accomplish amazing things. That representing my country [The Bahamas] is an honor, and that I am proud of where I come from, what I have accomplished through God and the people I represent.” 

Thompson hopes to take her success and experience to the next level this upcoming season.

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Copy edited by Nhandi Long-Shipman

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