Thierry Sawadogo, a freshman athlete at Savannah State University, is on his way to the 2016 Olympics.
Sawadogo will be representing Burkina Faso, a small country in West Africa, during the swimming portion of the Olympics.
“Here in America from 10 months ago I’ve improved my spots with my coach, Joe Witt,” says Sawadogo.
Because Savannah State does not have a swim team, nor an Olympic pool, training has been a bit of an obstacle for Sawadogo; he trains at the Chatham County Aquatic Center.
Sawadogo says “it is a bit hard for my parents to help me because I am here for my studies and my sport so it costs a lot of money, I’d like to get some help like a scholarship.”
Sterling Steward, the Athletic Director at the NCAA Division I school mentioned “budgets” are the main cause as to why Savannah State does not have swim teams.
While Sawadogo is up against a lot, he maintains a positive and hopeful attitude.
“Its more of a big experience for me, I’m still a young swimmer my level is not like the big swimmers of the world,” he says.
Sawadogo will be leaving later this month for the Olympics and will return home in October to begin his classes at SSU.