There is nothing odd about seeing a student or two walk around campus with bloodshot eyes, unless that student spends his time reaching new depths instead of new highs. But that is what exemplifies swimmer Gui Bryant, he’s a man who is not afraid to be himself.
“He’s unique, whether its class or fashion, he will always be himself,” said
friend, teammate and roommate Carl Riley.
Bryant’s first name, pronounced Guy, is the result of a compromise between his parents Laura Isom and Edward Bryant. Isom said she wanted to name her only child N’gai, while Bryant was in favor of dropping the “N” and calling him Gai. Bryant figuring that Gai would be mispronounced decided to just call his son Gui..
Bryant, 21, a senior business administration student from Detroit has been swimming since he was three years old. Up until his high school years Bryant attended Nataki Talibah in Detroit, an independent school that exposed students to the arts and non-mainstream sports. Swimming was one of the sports, and a lesson Bryant received every Tuesday afternoon.
It was at one of those lessons that Bryant decided he wanted to join the swim team. He struggled at first, and wanted to quit, much to the chagrin of his mother.
“The one thing I did was not allow him to quit until after his first year,” Isom said. “If he wanted to quit after a year that would have been fine.” Week after week Bryant improved, so much so, that by the end of his first season he was already one of the better swimmers on his team. “If I allowed him to quit [when he first started], he wouldn’t follow up on other things,” Isom said. Quitting, nonetheless, is not in Bryant’s vocabulary.
“Gui is focused. He knows what he wants to do, he’s a calm, openly honest type of person.” Riley said. “He runs out of the house at 5:30 (in the morning) to swim.”
Bryant, who carries a 3.2 grade point average, admits to logging at least 20 hours of training every week. With so much time devoted to his sport, Bryant said he finds it easier to focus on the task at hand.
“I value my time and use it wisely, especially after practice, when I’m tired and hungry and have papers to write. It helps me keep my priorities straight.”
But with all of his success in the pool, Bryant never planned on swimming at FAMU. A standout baseball player in high school, Bryant tried out for the University’s baseball team as a freshman, but didn’t make the cut.
Bryant, unphased by failing to make the baseball team, decided to try his luck with swimming. “I was so used to playing a sport. I felt it was something I needed to do. It was an opportunity to swim and I was trying to keep in shape.”
After his anticipated graduation this fall, Bryant plans on going to law school at either Howard or Georgetown to pursue a career as an international lawyer.
Bryant said, “I have no doubt in my abilities, or anything that I do.”
Contact Will Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.