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XDU Swimmers Make First Visit to the United States in Team History

Time: Feb 24, 2020

A delegation from Xidian University swimming made a tour of four American universities over January 16-25, 2020. The delegation of six elite swimmers, led by head swimming coach Peng Hou, and Assistant Manager of the Division of International Cooperation and Exchanges Liangkai Zhai, was the first in university history to make such a trip. The delegation represented XDU at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), Missouri State University (MSU), the University of Missouri (Mizzou), and the University of Minnesota. This visit was made possible thanks to the support from the Division of International Cooperation and Exchanges at Xidian andXidian’s Division of Athletics, Undergraduate Collage, and School of Economics and Management.


A digital warm welcome from Washington University 

The delegation flew first to Washington University in St. Louis, an internationally leading research university founded in 1853, staying there from January 17-19, 2020. There, the students interacted with members of the Washington University Swimming Team, which often places in the top 10 in the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and attended a range of classes and social events. They were greeted on campus at a special welcome reception by Professor Mark Wrighton, an Honorary Professor of Xidian University and Chancellor Emeritus of WashU, and Anthony Azama, the WashU Director of Athletics. The reception was held in the field house housed the 1904 Olympics that were held on WashU’s campus, and was emceed by WashU Professor Guy M. Genin, a frequent visitor to Xidian. In attendance were Chelsea Petersen, WashU’s Assistant Director of Athletics, Kathy Steiner-Lang, Executive Director of the WashU Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS), Martha Turner, Associate Director of OISS, students and student athletes from across the university, and staff from the WashU athletics department.


WashU Chancellor Emeritus Mark Wrighton (front row, third from left) and Director of Athletics Anthony Azama (front row, fifth from left) hosts the Xidian delegation in the formal lounge of the field house of the 1904 Olympics

During their visit to WashU, the Xidian swimmersadditionally experienced the culture of American varsity sports culture by interacting with the WashU swimming team and observing an NCAA swimming meet.


Xidian’s swimmers at an NCAA swimming competition held at WashU

The XDU delegation visited Missouri State University, a public university founded in 1905, on January 19-20, 2020. Dr. Jim Baker, Vice President of Missouri State, greeted the delegation at a breakfast reception. In his welcome remarks, Dr. Baker encouragedthe swimmers to enhance their academic and athletic performances. The delegation toured the Missouri Statesports facilitiesand experienced the local culture of rural Springfield, Missouri.


Vice President Baker (right) hosts the Xidian delegation at Missouri State

During their visit to Mizzou on January 21, 2020, the XDU delegation received warm welcome from university administration including Dr. Mary Stegmaier, Interim Vice Provost, David Currey, Director of International Student & Scholar Services, Sang Kim, Director of the Mizzou Asian Affairs Center, and Dr. Xiaoyu Guo, Director of International Analytics. In her remarks, Dr. Stegmaier emphasized Mizzou’s dedication to internationalization. Founded in 1839, Mizzou istheflagship campus of Missouri’s public university system, located in Columbia, MO.


Xidian Head Coach Peng Hou exchanges thoughts on coaching with Mizzou’s Head Mens’ Swimming Coach

The Xidian delegation observed Mizzou swimmers in training and toured Mizzou’s sports facilities. Head Coach Peng Hou exchanged perspectives on training techniques and methods with Mizzou’s swimming coach while the XDU swimmers mingled with Mizzou’s swimmers, attended a lecture on management, and visited Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri.


The Xidian delegation interacts with Mizzou athletes

The last stop was the University of Minnesota, a highly ranked public research university in Minneapolis, Minnesota, founded in 1851. Joan Brzezinski, Executive Directorof the University of Minnesota’s China Center, and Haiyan Wang, Assistant Director of the China Center,hosted a welcome lunch for the Xidian delegation. Zhengyang Gao, Training Program Manager and Qiuxia Welch, Training Program Specialist from the China Center led the Xidian delegation on a tour of the university’s campus.

The Xidian delegation also made short stops at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of St. Thomas.

Upon the return from their visit to the US, Xidian freshman swimmer Yongyao Chenreflected, “I am motivated to study harder. I am grateful for Xidian for providing me this opportunity to experience college life in the U.S. I want to make an impact by contributingto friendship between China and the U.S.”



At the University of Minnesota



At the University of Chicago



At Northwestern University



At University of St. Thomas