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Fairfield U. Swimming Well-Represented In Rio

Incoming freshman Ore Cherebin will represent her home country of Grenada in the 2016 Olympics.
Incoming freshman Ore Cherebin will represent her home country of Grenada in the 2016 Olympics. Photo Credit: contributed

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Three women associated with Fairfield University swimming will be in Rio de Janeiro this year — two competitors and one commentator.

Ore Cherebin is a native of Grenada, and this incoming Fairfield U. freshman swimmer will represent her country in the 2016 Summer Olympics. This is her first Olympics, and she'll compete in the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter breaststroke events.

The Olympics run from this Friday through Aug. 21.

"Being an Olympian is a huge honor and means more than words can describe," Cherebin said. "I almost can't believe it. It's a dream come true to be able to be part of team Grenada in Rio.

"I used to live in a town called Good Hope, in St. George. Living in Grenada were all good memories," Cherebin said. "Where I lived, it was a forested area, very calm compared to the busy streets of the United States."

Regarding her move to Fairfield, "It was a lot more than just because of the swim team," Cherebin said. "I visited Connecticut and liked the area, and started looking at schools there when I came across Fairfield. I looked at the swim team, and I liked the coach (Janelle Atkinson-Wignall) and the school.

"The landscape of Connecticut reminds me of home," she added.

Fairfield University Swimming and Diving Head Coach Janelle Atkinson-Wignall will serve as an ESPN Caribbean commentator for the Olympic Games. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Atkinson-Wignall is the first woman to coach both the men's and women's swimming and diving teams in school history.

She competed in both the 2000 Sydney Games and the 2004 Athens Games, finishing fourth and ninth in events in the former.

"Looking back, it was an amazing achievement," Atkinson-Wignall said.

Olympics are stressful. You start off the sport for yourself, you compete for yourself. Once in the Olympics, you are competing for your family, your friends, a whole country. You are representing them. There is a lot of pressure there. It can be overwhelming.

Atkinson-Wignall did medal in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England, the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, and the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. She's also been named Jamaica's Swimmer of the Year seven times.

Another incoming freshman swimmer for Fairfield is Colleen Young, who will compete for the United States in the Paralympic Games. Those run from Sept. 7-18.

The St. Louis native -- who is legally blind -- qualified for the U.S. team at the Trials in Charlotte, North Carolina, held from June 30 through July 2. Over three days, she swam in four events, earning three first-place finishes, one second-place finish, and setting a new American and Pan American record.

Young also competed in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, when she was only 13.

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