Scrolling Headlines:

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

Prince Hall flood over winter break -

January 10, 2018

Minutemen look to avoid three straight losses with pair against Vermont -

January 10, 2018

Men’s and women’s track and field open seasons at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2018

Turnovers and poor shooting hurt UMass women’s basketball in another conference loss at St. Bonaventure -

January 8, 2018

Shorthanded, UMass men’s basketball shocks Dayton with 62-60 win -

January 7, 2018

Northampton City Council elects Ryan O’Donnell as new council president -

January 7, 2018

UMass power play stays hot but Minutemen lose 8-3 to UMass Lowell -

January 7, 2018

UMass hockey falls to UMass Lowell in 8-3 blowout -

January 7, 2018

UMass hockey falls short against Yale in 5-3 loss Friday -

January 5, 2018

Otis Livingston II, George Mason drop UMass men’s basketball 80-72 -

January 3, 2018

Johnston: UMass fails to earn first conference win against George Mason -

January 3, 2018

Hao Luong shines for UMass men’s swimming and diving on Senior Day, prepares for end of college career

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

On Sunday, Jan. 18, the Massachusetts men’s swimming and diving team defeated Bryant 170-122 in its Senior Day meet.

It’s the final chapter in many of the seniors’ collegiate swimming stories. Hao Luong’s story stands out from the rest, however.

Luong grew up in Vietnam before moving to Malden in 2008. It was a dramatic change for Luong, who said he came to America for a better education, free high school and enhanced job opportunities.

He grew up a swimmer in Vietnam but didn’t start to competitively swim until he moved to the United States.

“I only swam (non-competitively) in Vietnam,” Luong said. “Once I got to (America) I signed up for a program and that (got) me here.”

Luong decided to continue his education and swimming career at the University of Massachusetts as a freshman in 2011. Now as a senior, he majors in mathematics.

Although Luong has been living in the U.S. since 2008, he didn’t gain full citizenship until two years ago, which he said was a momentous occasion.

“I felt success,” Luong replied when asked how it felt to become a legal U.S. citizen.

On senior day, Luong did much more than swim. He was given the opportunity to show off his vocals and pride for his new country as he sang the national anthem during the opening ceremonies before the meet.

“It shows I’m a true citizen. I have (a) responsibility for this country,” Luong said. “It also shows that I’m a proud American.”

Luong had an impressive afternoon in the pool as well, winning multiple events including the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke. He also served as the leadoff swimming in the 200-meter medley relay team that placed first.

It was a bittersweet day for Luong, as he said he’s happy to see his swimming career come to an end on a high note but isn’t quite ready for it to finish.

“I feel happy a little bit because I’ve been swimming for 12 years but I also felt sad because I will have to leave my UMass swimming family in a couple of weeks,” he said.

Reminiscing about his college career, Luong said that it was a good experience overall.

“When I first signed up for this school I knew it was going to be a great adventure,” he said. “I have nothing to complain about my four years here.”

“My friends are great, academics are good, the food is great.”

Luong said he’ll miss both classes and the pool.

“Being able to go to class every day is like an enjoyment to me,” he said. “I know what it’s like to stay home and do nothing and I don’t like it. So I will miss going to classes and practice the most.”

Luong said his fondest memories include him competing at the Atlantic 10 championships. He didn’t have a specific recollection in mind but he said swimming in those competitions were his favorite.

He and the rest of the men’s swimming and diving team still have more opportunities to create memorable moments, as the A-10 championships begin in February.

Victor Pusateri can be reached at vpusateri@umass.edu.

Leave A Comment