NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)- Old Dominion University senior swimmer Sidni Hoxha will graduate this spring as one of the best male swimmers in program history.
The senior from Albania holds 3 individual Old Dominion swim records and is part of 4 relay records. “In the pool he came in looking to be one of our best athletes, but he has gone above and beyond. He has out swam all of our competition. He works hard everyday. He is kind of a student of the sport,” said ODU swim coach Carol Withus.
He does excel in the classroom. Hoxha has a 3.0 average in civil engineering. Last season he was named the CAA swimmer of the year and he is currently in Austin, Texas where he is preparing to swim the 50 and 100 meters at the NCAA Swimming Championships.
Hoxha has been to two summer Olympic games for Albania. His career best time of 19.41 in the 50 meters ranks 25th in the nation, so he will have to swim a near perfect race to advance to the round of 16. “That’s what I hope to do and that is to have a perfect race. The only way I am going to be moving on is to have a perfect race. That is what I have been trying to do and hoping to do and if everything goes as planned I think I have a decent shot,” says Hoxha.
Hoxha was originally recruited by the University of Michigan, but when that fell through he landed in Norfolk, which was a bit of a culture shock for a kid who grew up in Albania. “I thought I knew English, but I did not know it very well. I had to ask people many times to repeat what they were saying. Thank god my teammates did not get tired of me saying hey man, that’s enough.”
The top 40 swimmers in the nation qualify for nationals. The top 16 swimmers advance to the second round. Hoxha has been working on his starts and turns hoping to not repeat last years NCAA experience. “Last year I was 18th by .03. You know it’s a heart breaker. You’re so close to making it back and you don’t. You have to learn from your mistakes and come back here and work and I have been doing that and this time be the guy who is on the over side of .03,” said Hoxha.