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As a senior, Serena Xue has learned to bounce back from bad meets and be a positive role model for her team. 

Credit: Son Nguyen

Penn senior Serena Xue has been swimming laps around the competition since high school. 

During her time in high school, she was the two-time provincial champion in the 100-yard breaststroke category. She also won the Hamber Griffins Athletic Award three years in a row. Xue has continued to shine and has built upon her previous success in her time as an athlete for Penn women's swimming and diving. As captain of the team, she has consistently put up fast times and has helped lead her team to victory.

Xue explained that she has been motivated to keep competing through the support that she once received and wanted to share.

“There were a lot of good upperclassmen and seeing them continuously work hard and go faster every week motivated me right from the start,” she said. “Becoming an upperclassman, I felt like I needed to step up, and also this year with being captain and being a leader on the team, I’m making sure that everyone is doing well and that I’m working hard as well.”

At Penn’s recent meet against Harvard, Xue was able to pick up Penn’s third victory during the 200-yard breaststroke. She beat the competition by finishing at 2:20.42, five seconds behind the Penn record of 2:15.35, which is held by 2017 graduate Ellie Grimes. But this is not unusual for Xue, who has continually been a top performer for Penn.

Now serving as a leader for her team, Xue has to be able to bounce back from bad meets relatively quickly in order to set a positive example for her team.  

“I just reflect on what went wrong in the meet and then talk to my coach," Xue said. "[I] take a day or two to be upset about it, and then the next week we’re back in the pool and getting ready for the next meet.”

Her current top times are 57.48 in the 100 freestyle, 1:04.07 in the 100 breast, 2:17.20 in the 200 breast, 2:08.99 in the 200 individual medley, and 4:39.70 in the 400 IM.

Although she has been winning continuously, her favorite moment from her time on the team is unrelated to her victories. 

“Every year, our team flies to Florida for our training trip for about 10 days, and all we do there is swim in the morning, go to the weight room, take a nap, and go back to the pool, and occasionally we’ll have beach days,” Xue said. “All we’re doing is training and getting better and getting tan.”  

As far staying involved with swimming after Penn, Xue plans to be a volunteer coach to children outside of her job.

“Weekends and evenings, [I hope to] coach just for fun and hop in the pool every once in a while, just to loosen up or get a workout in without the same kind of pressure on me.”

Aside from physically engaging in the sport, Xue will always be supporting the team.

“Once you’re a part of Penn women’s [swimming and diving], you’ll always be a part of the family," she said. "I’ll always be looking at results from Penn swimming in the coming seasons and cheering everyone on from wherever I am after graduation.”

Even though Xue graduates this spring, she will forever be a part of her team's legacy.