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SAN DIEGO — Learning how to balance school while playing a sport in college can be a tough task but for UC San Diego swimmer Marc Caron, he’s sort of mastered the two and finds himself in a unique position as a graduate student, still competing.

Some might call Caron a bit of a journeyman. The Quebec native moved from Canada to the warm beaches of the south, where he continued his academic and athletic swimming career at the University of Tampa.

“You cannot swim and go to school and perform in both if you don’t know how to manage everything,” said Caron. “It’s really something you’ve got to learn really early.”

Caron has mastered time management. The 21-year-old completed his degree in three years and landed at UCSD to pursue his master’s degree. But he also decided to use his last year of NCAA eligibility to compete for the Tritons swim team.

“College swimming and being in school is such a unique thing,” said Caron. “People take it for granted and people don’t realize how lucky they are to be in school until it’s taken away from you.”

“Really key is his energy honestly,” said head swimming and diving coach David Marsh. “He’s coming from a background of already having done college swimming at a high level, he’s done NCAAs so he knows that experience. He knows enthusiasm is critical and he’s brought that to our team. The fact that he’s also grateful for the opportunity he has here makes it an even better experience, especially for the coaches.”

In the pool, Caron says his focus remains on sprint style swimming and relays but in the classroom, where he’s pursuing a graduate degree in international affairs, he says the feeling compares to that of being a fish out of water.

“I’m in class with some of the most influential people in government from all across pacific countries and sometimes I ask myself what I’m doing here but I think I deserve to be here and I’m really learning so much,” said Caron.

“He’s an international student. He’s from Canada and grew up speaking French, didn’t speak English growing up,” said Marsh. “Went to Tampa and really learned how to become a better student, graduated with outstanding academic qualities and then wanted to challenge himself further by going to (School of Global Policy and Strategy) and learning how to advance himself into the future. The swimming piece, the athletic piece is a critical piece, too, because he wanted to try one more big shot at the higher level and he’s getting it day by day.”

He might be a newcomer to the Tritons team, but he’s a veteran swimmer with plenty to offer and for Caron, that starts with attitude.

“When I’m in front of people, when I’m with you, when I’m with the coaches, I have to be the best person I can be,” said Caron. “That’s really important to me and I think it’s one thing that people see and people will notice and that’s maybe what brought me here.”

For a complete list of the Triton’s upcoming swimming and diving events, click here.