SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Mount Holyoke College swimming and diving student-athlete Laraiba Seibou will compete in the 2018 FINA World Swimming Short Course Championships in China next week. The event, which is in its 14th year, will run from Tuesday, December 11 through Sunday, December 16 at the Hangzhou Olympic & International Expo Center.
Seibou (Niamey, Niger/Algoza), a sophomore in her first year with the Lyons program, will compete for her home country of Benin. Officially called the Republic of Benin it is a country in West Africa. She is one of four Beninese swimmers who will compete in Hangzhou, joining another woman and two men.
Individually, Seibou will compete in the 100-meter freestyle on Wednesday, December 12, followed by the 50-meter butterfly on Thursday, December 13. She will also combine with her Beninese teammates in the 4x50-meter freestyle mixed (Wednesday, Dec. 12), as well as the 4x50-meter mixed medley race (Thursday, Dec. 13). The preliminary heats for all events begin at 9:30am each day.
At 15 years old, Seibou was named to the Benin contingent for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Out of the six athletes in the team, she was one of two women named. Seibou's personal best for the 50 meter freestyle was 37.67 seconds, outside of the "B" qualifying time of 26.17 seconds, thus she competed in Rio on the basis of a wild card universal spot awarded to Benin.
Competing in the women's 50 meter freestyle on August 12 during the Rio Olympics, in the second heat, Seibou finished second with a time of 33.01 seconds, behind the winner, Anastasiya Tyurina of Tajikistan (31.15 seconds). Her time in the heat unfortunately did not qualify her for a further round at the Olympic games.
Seibou has competed in all four dual meets for the Lyons this season, recording 10 top-10 finishes. Among her top efforts came in a 160-139 victory over Westfield State as she placed third as the lead in the 200-yard freestyle relay, along with sixth in the 50-free and seventh in both the 50-yard butterfly and the 100-free events.
Mount Holyoke is currently 2-2 in dual meet action, having also placed sixth at the Hamilton College Invitational last weekend. The Lyons return to action on January 10 when it travels to Wheaton College for tri-meet action against Clark University and the conference's other "Lyons". Action is set to begin at 3pm.