Polar Bear of the Week: Alex Grand’Pierre ’25
February 24, 2023
At last weekend’s men’s NESCAC Swimming and Diving Championships, Alex Grand’Pierre ’25 set three new records: the fastest time for a Bowdoin swimmer in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke and the fastest time for the 50-yard breaststroke in NESCAC history. Also swimming in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200 freestyle relay, Grand’Pierre had a memorable weekend that is surely a highlight in his already accomplished Bowdoin swimming career.
He attributed much of his recent success to the team’s training over winter break in Florida.
“We’ve been training really hard as a team,” Grand’Pierre said. “We were in Palm Beach [over winter break]. We got in two weeks of good training there, so I was feeling confident going into the swim meet.”
Another factor he cited in his performance was the support he received after the preliminary round of competition at the NESCAC Championships, especially before the 50-yard breaststroke event where he broke the NESCAC record.
“At the prelim swim, I had the best time, but I knew I could do a lot better,” Grand’Pierre said. “I talked with my [Bowdoin] coach, my friends from back home and my club coach, and they gave me tricks and coaching [that] helped me swim the race the way I wanted to, and I was able to drop a lot of time in that. Getting a new record just happened to be part of that journey, but it was really nice to work with everyone. It certainly wasn’t on my own that I was able to do that—I knew I had a big support system.”
Grand’Pierre also spoke to the value of the team culture at Bowdoin. Although swimming is largely an individual sport, he enjoys training with the team at Bowdoin and witnessing the team’s development throughout the season.
“Seeing everyone start preseason in September, we’re all sore and out of shape, but we keep at it every single day until our final meet at the end of the season. It’s so nice watching everyone compete and put everything on the table—even though you might not be in the water with them, you know that you’ve been through training with them and you’ve seen the effort that they’ve put in,” Grand’Pierre said.
One of his teammates is his sister, Emilie Grand’Pierre ’23, who competed in the Tokyo Olympics for the Haitian team in 2021. He credits his sister and family more broadly for getting him involved in swimming and motivating him to succeed.
“[Emilie] is definitely a motivator,” Alex Grand’Pierre said. “I have three older sisters, and they all swam. Instead of my mom driving all around taking us to different sports … we all just started swimming—I started when I was three or four and have been swimming ever since.”
Alex Grand’Pierre aims to continue this lifetime in the pool by making his first national finals event at next month’s NCAA Championships. Beyond that, he hopes to qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024 with Haiti and possibly be part of the first Haitian relay team to participate in the Olympic swimming competition.
Alex Grand’Pierre and the rest of the team will swim at the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C., on March 15.
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