O’rena swimmer profile

The O’rena has one special wall, a place to commemorate and remember the athletic accomplishments of the former athletes of Oakland University. Some went on to become Olympians such as Anita Rapp, some became professional athletes such as Rawle Marshall and some went on to build a new career while still keeping sports in their lives.

Amr El Sayed is among those who pursued a different career. According to the Golden Grizzlies statistics page, Sayed swam for Oakland from 2010 to 2013 and was named Male Swimmer of the Championships at The Summit League Championships for second the straight year, in his last season at Oakland.

One of his most prominent memories from that year was from the Horizon League Conference Championship.

“It was touching the wall during my last event,” he said, “I was happy and proud to win my last mile event and break the school record, and I was ecstatic that my mom could travel from Egypt to the United States to watch me swim my last championship.”

Sayed graduated with a Bachelors in industrial and systems engineering, and he was sure of himself and his plans for his future.

“I knew that I wanted to stick around the Detroit area post-graduation,” Sayed said. “Yes, it all went according to plan, but It definitely was not easy; being an international student on an F1 visa makes it harder to find internships and jobs.”

He started to pursue automotive internships in his junior year, and he found his footing from there. A place where Sayed had previously held an internship offered him a job two months before graduation as a systems engineer. Though it was a new career, Sayed said it was “exactly as he had expected” because of his previous internship experiences.

It wasn’t easy, and Sayed said he remembered interviewing for at least 15 other positions before he finally landed a job.

Now, Sayed is a senior business development engineer at Sensata Technologies, and he is currently working toward an MBA at Wayne State University. He is expecting to graduate in 2019.

Even if his professional life doesn’t include swimming, he still stays active and swims outside of his career.

“I started Crossfit right after my last season was over,” Sayed said. “I also recently started swimming again as a part of a Master’s swim team, and I will be competing in my first Master’s state meet in April 2018.”

Swimming played a significant part in Sayed’s life: It was one of the things that brought him to Oakland. He learned a lot from being on the team, and he has kept those lessons in mind for the present and for his future.

“If it wasn’t for Pete Hovland, the swimming and diving head coach, recruiting me from Egypt eight years ago, I wouldn’t be here doing what I do today,” Sayed said. “Being a part of Oakland’s swim team taught me that being a student athlete is more than just being a fast swimmer.”

Though it was a crucial part of his career at Oakland, Sayed also attributes his success to other resources and positions on campus.

“From becoming an orientation group leader, student assistant, apartment community assistant and student mentor, I learned few valuable lessons from each position,” Sayed said. “There are many amazing resources that Oakland offers that I hope every student who reads this will start taking advantage of.”