When Emeric Renard chose to study at CU Denver, he came seeking new experiences that he wouldn’t have back in his island home of Guadeloupe. It wasn’t until the business student stumbled across an Instagram post that he realized his lifelong passion for swimming would be the key to immersing himself in American society.
Read this Q&A with Renard to learn about his journey as a student and an athlete.
Where did swimming start for you?
I grew up in the French Region of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean Sea, in a small town called Baie-Mahault. My older brother was a swimmer and introduced me to the sport, and when I saw what it was all about, I knew I wanted to swim too. I started swimming when I was 4 and began competing when I was 8.
When you imagined your time at CU Denver, did you picture yourself swimming for the new club team?
Before arriving here, I had no idea there would be the new Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center and pool, so I didn’t know about the team. I was more focused on trying new things and thought I might play an American sport like baseball or hockey. It wasn’t until I started following the CU Denver Instagram account that I saw club swimming was an option.
How did you choose CU Denver?
I started my undergraduate degree at EM Strasbourg Business School at the University of Strasbourg in France. As part of my finance degree, I am required to study abroad for one year at a partner university. I wanted to immerse myself in the English language and truly adapt into American culture, so I decided to come to CU Denver. I knew I would love the City of Denver, and the business program here turned out to be a great fit.
What ultimately made you decide to join the swim team?
When I started class here, I realized a lot of the other business students had already started their careers and didn’t have time to explore Denver the way I wanted to. So, I started looking for student organizations I could join. I was looking for a group of people that shared a similar interest with me but also challenged me to try something new. That’s when I found out about the club team.
You won a race at the team’s first swim meet and went on to qualify for nationals. What’s it like swimming for CU Denver?
I’m glad I joined the team, because it turned out to be a space for me to belong and contribute, which really helped me settle into life here. The team’s first meet was also my first event at the college level, so I was pretty nervous. Fortunately, as soon as I dove into the water, all my nerves went away, and I just focused on doing my best. Getting that first win and having my teammates there to congratulate me was a great feeling. Representing the school and knowing I’m contributing to my team and our success as a group is really enjoyable.
Now that you’ve spent several months here, has the Lynx experience been what you hoped it would be?
Yes, definitely. Before coming here, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I feel much more comfortable in American culture now. I knew I needed to do well in school and finish my program, but I also wanted to take advantage of this time in my life, and Denver has been great for that. I’ve gotten to experience life in a U.S. city, but I also got into the mountains to hike and ski with friends a few times. It’s been a great adventure, and I’m really happy for this opportunity.
You finish your program in May. What do you plan to do next?
I want to continue to gain experience that I wouldn’t have in France or Guadeloupe, so I plan on staying in the United States to start my career in wealth management or financial advising. I’m comfortable in Denver now, and it would be easiest to stay here. But I’m always open to new experiences, so I could see myself in a different city or even a smaller town. But one thing is for sure: I’ll find a pool wherever I end up.
Guest contributor: Ben Dewhurst, Student Writer, Division of Student Development