Blue Flower

Micronesia to benefit from Debra’s US experience


Debra Daniels, an Olympic swimmer from the remote island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, was a recipient of a two-year junior college scholarship to Iowa Community College in 2011.  Since graduating from junior college she has completed an undergraduate degree in nursing and is now working on her Master’s degree at the Minnesota State University in Mankato.

Before commencing her final year of studies, Debra returned to Pohnpei in May 2015 to train for the 2015 Pacific Games and 2015 FINA Swimming World Championships.  During her free time she coached the Pohnpei Swim Club junior swim team as a volunteer and trained 15 junior swimmers three days a week for two-hour periods.

Debra hopes to graduate with her Master's degree in May 2016 and then compete in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  After the Games she plans to return home and work as a nurse at the Pohnpei State Hospital.  She will also return to the local pool to become the full-time volunteer head coach for the Pohnpei Swim Club junior team.

Debra told OAF that without the scholarship she would never have had the chance to complete her education or to maintain her standing as an elite swimmer.  Now she is in a position to contribute to her local community in many ways, one of which is by working as a volunteer coach developing future FSM Olympic swimmers.