Photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

Patrick Guillory, a 21-year-old senior swimmer, recently finished his final season at DU. Guillory is from Houston, Texas and has been swimming for 17 years. When he was younger, he made the decision to pursue a swimming career throughout high school and college. In addition to being incredibly talented at the sport and truly enjoying it, Guillory knew swimming was the best way to gain a top-tier education. He is an international business major.

Originally, Guillory was planning to attend Eastern Carolina University, but reminiscing about an eighth grade trip to Colorado made him pursue other options. DU is the only NCAA Division 1 men’s swimming program in the state,  so naturally, it was the program Guillory was drawn to. While visiting DU for the first time in February of 2013, he really bonded with the team.

“I could tell they were just being themselves around me. They were honest and they just talked about Denver, DU and the people here. I liked the unity and the connection within the team,”  said Guillory.

Interestingly enough, the lack of a football team at DU was also a huge perk for Guillory.

“My whole life, people would always ask about football or why I wasn’t doing that [playing football],” he said. “I was a state champion in high school and people were telling me I shouldn’t be swimming, that I should be playing football instead. There wasn’t a giant sport here at DU that would just stomp on swimming and I knew I would still get respect for my sport.”

Over the past summer, Guillory traveled to Amsterdam for a study abroad program that allowed him to work and train. This experience has greatly impacted his final season with DU swimming.

“Experiencing life outside the U.S. and having to train on my own made me miss the sport. In my senior year, I wanted to leave a positive impact on the program and I decided to just enjoy it as much as I could. I wanted to use my energy to pump up my teammates and to see how far I could get in my final season. It’s cool to get best times, but the numbers became less important to me,” said Guillory.

In his final season, Guillory competed in the 100 meter breaststroke, the 200 meter breaststroke and the 100 meter fly. He holds the DU records for the 400 meter freestyle relay with a time of 2:54.56 and the 200 meter medley relay with a time of 1:26.89.

The weekend of Jan. 13 and 14 was senior weekend for the team and Guillory was excited to have his father in town for the meet.

“It was important for me to do well in front of him,” he said. “I’m an only child and he wants to see his son do well and then brag to his friends like any dad. It was the best meet of my life and I had great times.”

There are two meets remaining before the team competes at the Summit League Conference meet from Feb. 15 through Feb. 18.

Although his final season is almost over, Guillory has no regrets, and he is ready for the next part of his life to begin.

“I couldn’t do this for another year. I’m a very foresighted thinker, and I’ve been preparing for this. I know the mindset to take in this transition from talking to seniors before. A lot of college athletes struggle with that. For 17 years, I’ve had something to do everyday. It’s been my life, but it’s going to change, and I’m going to have a lot more freedom,” he said.

After graduation, Guillory plans to return to Amsterdam to connect with a startup company, work in the marketing and coding fields as well as begin a music career with live music and instrumentation (fun fact: Guillory can play eight instruments).

Guillory has greatly enjoyed his time as a DU swimmer, even as he now looks toward the future.