April 17, 2014

Scholar-Athlete Profile: Jin Hwang

The Franklin & Marshall scholar-athlete profile features one Diplomat per month who personifies what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete. The F&M campus is filled with dedicated, passionate, and talented student-athletes who have interesting stories to tell – and it's our goal to let those stories be heard. To be chosen as a scholar-athlete of the month, F&M student-athletes must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and community service, or have a noteworthy story that stretches beyond the realm of athletic competition. 

To view previous scholar-athletes, click here

 

Jin Hwang can be described as a lot of things. A captain of both the Franklin & Marshall swimming and golf team, the creator of a successful after-school program for middle school students, a focused and dedicated environmental science major, an inspiring filmmaker; a leader.

All of these accomplishments and endeavors that Hwang has chosen to pursue through his four years at F&M combine to give him perhaps his most fitting title of all; a well-rounded student-athlete. 

It is clear that Hwang has a busy schedule. In addition to his responsibilities associated with being a two-sport athlete at the college, he is heavily involved with the F&M and Lancaster communities.  Finding ways to balance athletic, academic and community service duties when the sport you participate in is in season may prove difficult for most, but Hwang has found a way to make it all work. 

"I am able to better manage my time when I am in season for these sports because it gives me structure and consistency," said Hwang. "Having athletic responsibilities also helps me take better care of my body, which allows me to focus better and do better in the classroom."

As an athlete, Hwang has excelled in both the pool and out on the golf course. During the Centennial Conference (CC) Swimming Championships in February he was a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay team that captured a bronze medal after touching the wall with a time of 3:09.51. A four-year member of the golf team, Hwang's best finish came during his junior season at the Penn State-Harrisburg Invitational when a one-over par earned him a tie for sixth place out of 75 golfers at the event. 

However, Hwang's biggest contribution to his teams likely comes from the leadership role he naturally takes on.

"He leads by example," said head golf coach Andy Tompos. "He is respected by his peers, fellow competitors and opposing coaches. Jin has no problem with leading our team just by his presence. He is the best captain I've ever had." 

"Jin takes it upon himself to encourage the teammates around him," said head swimming coach Ben Delia. "He goes to great lengths to inspire his teammates to be their very best and he cares a great deal about the program." 

His athletic accomplishments do not overshadow his academic achievements as Hwang has earned a spot on the conference's winter academic honor roll in each of the last three seasons for swimming, while also being named to the spring academic honor roll last year for men's golf.  The criteria necessary to receive the honor is arduous, as student-athletes must possess at cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher as well as participate in at least 50 percent of their team's contests.

Hwang credits his involvement in sports as one of the reasons he is able to thrive in the classroom and lists the countless additional benefits his involvement in athletics has provided him during his time at the college. 

"Being a member of the swim team has given me structure, fitness and lifelong friends," said Hwang. "Swimming can be physically and mentally challenging, but being able to push through that, especially together with your teammates, has given me the confidence to handle any challenge that may come my way." 

"As a member of the golf team I've been able to compete at the national level, but at the same time knowing that anything can happen out on the course has kept me humble and has reminded me to keep the values of integrity, honesty and sportsmanship."

Hwang's day doesn't end outside of the classroom or away from site of competition. He is an active member of Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), Dip Dental and the Benjamin Rush Honor Society; a pre-med honor society that organizes guest lectures, volunteer events and mentorship opportunities for students aspiring to pursue a career in the health professions. 

Not only has the F&M campus benefited from Hwang's time and dedication but the surrounding community has as well. Along with swimming teammate Alexia Tomlinson, Hwang created a volunteer program last spring called, "Swim to Success." 

The program was created to help mentor students from Reynolds Middle School through academic tutoring and swim lessons.

"Many of the kids that we have in the program have never swam before and it is a great opportunity for them to not only learn a valuable life skill, but also be in a safe environment to learn and have fun," said Hwang.

Swim to Success kids spend the first hour of the program working on homework and doing writing exercises in the Woods Room at F&M's Alumni Sports and Fitness Center (ASFC). The second hour is spent in the pool, with the focus on building basic swimming skills. 

Somehow the senior from Newton Square, Pa., still manages to find time for his hobbies, with one of his favorites being filmmaking. Over the last three years, he has posted a number of encouraging videos of the swim team on YouTube

"Jin is a talented filmmaker and has put together videos on an annual basis to help inspire his teammates prior to the conference championships," said Delia. 

After graduation, he plans on taking a year off from school before pursuing a career in dentistry. It will be a much-deserved break.