Swim team participation large part of Zupo’s day to day activities

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By Alexandria Arndt

“If I had to study abroad I would be in a lot of trouble unless I was in an English speaking country. I’m not the most bilingual person. So the fact that Giuseppe can just come in, do what he is able to do, it’s just amazing.” -Kevin Bigham, Zupo’s swim coach

Sorrento, Italy, lies 5,332 miles away from Blue Springs; foreign exchange student Giuseppe Zupo took the short 11 hour and 45 minute flight away from his view of the Tyrrhenian Sea to his new home for a year. Zupo became a member of AFS to improve his fluency in English. He wasn’t allowed to select where he would get to study so coming to Blue Springs came to him as a surprise.

“America is a really huge country, so everything you have to do you have to drive (to). In Italy you can just walk,” Zupo said.  

 

In addition, he also noted how American schools differentiate from those in Italy.

 

“In Italy we don’t change classrooms. We have one classroom for every year and we can choose our schedule. So if you want to do more math or more science or physics than history or literature, then you have to sign up in a scientific school,” Zupo said.

 

Zupo expressed a passion for physics, math and chemistry, which falls perfectly in place with his dream career as a scientist or engineer. Zupo is really supposed to be a junior but since this is his only year at BSHS, he is considered a senior. He has also joined boys swim and dive team to fulfill his joy of swimming, to have fun and to meet new people.

 

Though he has five years of swimming experience, this is his first year in competition.

 

“Here, I have to practice three hours. It’s an increasing time. It’s more tiring and exhausting, but more enjoyable,” Zupo explained.

 

Zupo competes in freestyle and backstroke and according to head Coach Kevin Bigham,  Zupo has a very good shot at making the Varsity Conference line-up. This isn’t Bigham’s first opportunity to coach when it comes to foreign exchange student swimmers.

 

“Last year during girls swim season we actually had two girl foreign exchange students from Italy, and they were also great. So just having them around kind of helped prepare me for Giuseppe, but all three of them have been just awesome kids and we’d love to have more of them,” Bigham said.

 

Zupo fits in great with the team and has impressed many with his skills in the pool and how quickly he was able to pick up the swim events. Described mainly as laid-back and kind, Zupo also showed his competitive side at swim meets.

“We’ve only had one meet so far but Giuseppe seemed to enjoy it. The meet actually brought out a bit of a competitive side we hadn’t seen in him yet because he is just a nice, laid back kid. Sometimes in practice it’s hard to see that ‘killer instinct’. We’re starting to see it and  he’s just gonna have a great year for us,” Bigham said.

 

Bigham is a big fan of the effort and energy that being a student athlete in addition to a foreign exchange student requires.

 

“If I had to study abroad I would be in a lot of trouble unless I was in an English speaking country. I’m not the most bilingual person. So the fact that Giuseppe can just come in, do what he is able to do, it’s just amazing,” Bigham said.