The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Senior Swimmer Joanne Fu discovered her love of swimming early on and has been competing since she was eight years old. (Photo from Joanne Fu)

The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Joanne Fu of Penn women's swimming 15 questions about her time with the team, her experience at Penn, and her life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.

1. Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Joanne Fu and I’m from Northern Virginia near D.C. I’m a senior on the swim team in Wharton majoring in marketing and OIDD. In my free time, I like cooking, hiking, and going to happy hour with my friends.

2. What is one thing you miss about not swimming competitively right now?

I really miss racing. The thrill of diving into the pool and racing the person next to me and giving it my all. There are very few things that give that exact kind of rush, and I can’t wait to feel all of that again.

3. When did you first discover a love for swimming?

Pretty early on. I’ve been swimming competitively since I was eight years old, and before that, I did a lot of swimming lessons in the pool. By middle school, I realized I had a mixture of talent, hard work, and passion that made me good at swimming, which is when I dropped the other hobbies and sports to focus on swimming.

4. Which three words would you use to describe yourself?

Bubbly, fun, passionate.

5. Who is your ultimate sports idol and why?

Nathan Adrian. I’ve watched his interviews and he seems like a very cool person. He’s so well-spoken, humble, and kind, which are all important qualities to have, especially at the high level he is.

6. Do you have any game day rituals?

We always have something in the locker room before our meets, like a pep talk or a special cheer. On the pool deck, we have a cheer where seniors are in the center and the rest of the team locks arms around them and we do a fun cheer. Just hyping each other up to get ready is really important to get everyone in a good mindset.

7. What is your favorite part of swimming for the Quakers?

The way that everyone cares so much about swimming. There’s always been this amazing mutual focus on teamwork and wanting to work hard and wanting to be there. Everyone’s willing to sacrifice so many other things to be there and be a good teammate. The leadership on the team is also amazing.

Seniors bring the effort, show up, work hard, and are good teammates. Everyone just makes sure that whatever stress they have that day, they leave behind when they enter the pool deck and there’s only positive energy going to practice.

8. How do you manage sports and academics? 

It’s really important for me to have good time management and to be able to get enough sleep each night, which sometimes means I have to sacrifice a lot of other things that I want to do. But everything comes with a give and take, and it’s worth it because I enjoy being part of such a good team.

9. What is your all-time favorite swimming memory?

I have two favorite memories. During my senior year of high school, we had our high school state meet where I competed in the 100-yard butterfly race. I was seeded fourth and didn’t expect to win, and the girl next to me was a couple of seconds better than mine. For the first 75 yards she was ahead of me, but for the last 25 yards I had a great underwater turn and I ended up winning the event. That was such a great race not only because I got my high school team record but also because of the joy I felt when I looked up at the board and saw I won and the roar that went up from my team cheering.

My second was during my junior year of college. I’ve always struggled with performing the way I did in high school. But junior year was when I finally broke out of that rut. At Ivies that year, I was hoping to break two minutes on the 200 butterfly, which was something I’ve wanted to since high school. That day, I did and got 1:59 and made it back in the top eight for finals that night. I remember my coach giving me the biggest hug because he’d been wanting me to achieve that for so long. Both of these memories are so amazing and it’s thrilling to see my hard work pay off.

10. How do you feel you have grown since you were a freshman walking into your first practice?

Definitely a lot from a practice perspective and with managing my time. Freshman year it was hard to manage school and swimming, but I’ve definitely grown a lot in that aspect. I’ve also learned to show up to practice with a good attitude and to keep up the same energy for my teammates. In terms of racing, during my freshman and sophomore years, I had a lot of anxiety surrounding racing. But swimming is such a mental sport so it’s hard to do well with all those negative thoughts in my head. But being able to finally let go of that was instrumental to becoming a better swimmer.

11. Did you develop any new hobbies over quarantine?

During quarantine, the first thing I really got into was watching anime. A lot of my friends on the swim team are really into it so I decided to also watch it. I also learned how to create a workout schedule because I had to work out on my own and I started running a lot more. I also had a lot more time in my schedule that allowed me to cook more. I love cooking and preparing veggies and picking out something new to cook each day.

12. How has your team been managing during this season?

We did a couple of Zoom workouts over the summer and we’re excited to practice in the fall, but obviously that didn’t happen. One of my teammates is from New Jersey and her high school coach offered to run practices for the team, which a lot of the sophomores and juniors did. But we’ve been trying to figure out ways for team bonding this semester, especially for the the freshman, but we’ve wanted to wait until COVID got better.

13. What do you hope to be remembered by here at Penn on the swim team?

I want to be remembered as a cool older sister and someone that my teammates can come to for advice about for anything. I’ve always looked up to those kinds of people and in turn, I want to become something like that.

14. What’s next for you after you graduate?

I was incredibly lucky and got a return offer to where I worked over the summer, which was at a market research and consulting type of firm. I’m planning to start that in the fall around August, so in the meantime, I’m going to just enjoy the summer.

15. As a Division 1 swimmer, what’s your biggest piece of advice to your new teammates?

Soak in the experience as much as you can and appreciate having a team because it’s such a unique experience. The joy of being able to show up to practice once or twice a day and see all your best friends giving it their all that day is amazing. And also don’t take things for granted, especially because my career got cut short.