TAMPA, Fla. – Following your dreams and pursuing your passion may be a cliched phrase, but it has worked for Marc-Olivier Caron.
The Gatineau, Quebec native has an unbridled dedication to swimming that has created opportunities unprecedented for his humble roots.
The University of Tampa Spartan spoke poolside at the school’s Aquatic Center, appreciative of everything the sport has provided for him.
“Honestly, every time I think it’s hard with school or it’s hard working out, I just can’t complain,” Caron said prior to a team practice Friday morning. “There’s palm trees everywhere. There’s a resort. I have food waiting for me at the cafeteria right after practice.
“I’m getting out with a bachelor’s degree as well so that’s a really big deal for me.”
Now in his senior year, Caron has become a decorated student-athlete. He earned the Division II ADA Academic Achievement Award as a Sophomore and hopes to have a strong showing at next weeks 2018 NCAA Division II National Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Hopefully next week will be my biggest accomplishment, making the top eight and being All-American. That’d be great.”
The story of Marc’s success is one born from a love of swimming, but it’s personal significance goes well beyond the confines of the pool.
Caron was initially put into the sport by his parents, who merely wanted to get
him training for an honest and admirable occupation.
“They wanted me to become a lifeguard when I grew up, and they wanted to make it easier for me to do the classes so they put me in a swimming group. I just happened to be really good.”
Eventually, after completing two years of CEGEP (roughly covering Grade 12 and first year of post-secondary), Caron received an offer to attend the University of Tampa and join their swimming team. For a kid from snowy Quebec, the sales job wasn’t too difficult.
“The weather,” Caron said, when discussing Tampa’s appeal. “It’s spring break all the time for us. January, February, it’s always good outside.
“Back home it’s snowing. I see a lot of my friends snapchat back home, and it’s just about to go into springtime. For us it’s like that every day.”
Most of all, Marc is looking forward to an accomplishment that will make more than just himself proud.
“I wasn’t even planning on going to university, so just to graduate honestly is something big. I’ll be the first one in my family as well.”
Needless to say, it was a journey Marc could never have foreseen. But as he points out, there’s an important lesson about commitment found in it’s core.
“If I have one thing to say it’s just not to stop. Never stop.”