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Rio 2016 Olympic Calympian: Stephanie Au, Women's swimming, Hong Kong

The Cal alum and 3rd time Olympian will be the flag bearer for Hong Kong in the Rio opening ceremony.

Stephanie Au is one of three Hong Kong Calympian in Rio.
Stephanie Au is one of three Hong Kong Calympian in Rio.
Vladimir Rys/Getty Images

Stephanie Au 歐鎧淳

Sport: Women's Swimming (4x100 medley relay)

Country: Hong Kong

Instagram: @stephaniehsau

Birthday: May 30th, 1992 (age 24)

Hometown: Hong Kong

Cal affiliation: California Golden Bears alum (Environmental economics and policy '14)

Years at Cal: 2010 - 2014

Olympic appearances: 2008 London (200 Free, 400 Free, 800 Free), 2012 London (100 Back, 200 Back), 2016 Rio (4x100 medley relay)

CGB's 2012 London profile for Stephanie

HK Bears with Mama Bear! #靚相是唔洗執的 : Dave Durden

A photo posted by StephanieAu 歐鎧淳 (@stephaniehsau) on 

Cal Achievements:

A solid contributor for all 4 years at Cal, Stephanie Au was a member of two Cal Women's Swimming and Diving NCAA team national champions in 2011 and 2012.

Stephanie placed 9th at the 2011 NCAA championships in the 200 Back to score points for the Bears. She placed 13th at the 2012 NCAA championships in the 100 Back to also contribute points to the Cal team title. Au placed 12th in the 100 Back in 2013. She closed her Cal career with a 11th place finish in the 200 Back in 2014.

International Achievements:

Stephanie Au has been a mainstay on the Hong Kong national swim team for more than a decade now. The 3x Olympian made her first Olympic games appearance in 2008 London when she was only 16 (youngest Hong Kong Olympian at that Olympic).

At 2008 Beijing, Au was there with two other Golden Bears in Hannah Wilson and Sherry Tsai. Au competed in 200 Free, 400 Free and 800 Free.

At the 2012 London, Stephanie Au entered that Olympic games with experience training and racing at Cal. She competed in 100 Back and 200 Back.

Stephanie Au owns quite a few Hong Kong records in both the long course (like the Olympics) and the short course. The highly decorated Hong Kong swim and Olympic vet will be the flagbearer for the Hong Kong delegation at the Rio Opening Ceremony.

More on Stephanie and her Rio outlook:

Stephanie Au is only swimming in one event at Rio: the 4x100 medley relay with the Hong Kong team, that includes fellow Calympians Camille Chang (freestyle) and Yvette Kong (breaststroke). Au will swim the leadoff backstroke leg of the medley relay.

We did it again. Same crew for all three relays. #easypeasy #hkproud

A photo posted by StephanieAu 歐鎧淳 (@stephaniehsau) on 

The quartet posted the 15th best 4x100 medley relay time at the Malaysia Open earlier this year to qualify for Rio. Au had her personal best time of 1:00.91 in the 100 Back. Unfortunately, they would need to cut that medley relay time down significantly to make it out of the heat and be in the finals.

Given her Olympic experiences, Stephanie Au was chosen as the flagbearer for the Hong Kong delegation at the Opening Ceremony (which is coming up on Friday, August 5th) at the Rio Games. From the news release, Au said that "[i]t will be the shiniest day ever for me."

Hk bears ✌ #gobears #wugs #kazan2013 @wildflame @manyi8

A photo posted by Camille Cheng (@calcamel) on

The Daily Cal did a nice feature on Stephanie Au back in 2014. Au talked extensively about her past Olympic experiences, starting with that 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

As the youngest member of the Hong Kong swim team, Au went to the 2008 Beijing Olympics on a pedestal. Being the youngest swimmer and growing up in the same country as the Games, Au was a phenomenon.

"The media was going crazy over me, and I had never gotten interviewed before the Beijing Olympic games," Au says. "People just started coming and asking me questions, and I had no idea how to respond."

Instead of focusing on the immensity of the moment, Au tried to focus on what she was trained to do: just swim. But competing with the likes of 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin was more than a little nerve-wracking.

Au fell short of the podium, only making it past the first round of the three preliminary events she swam in — the 200-, 400- and 800-freestyle.

Still, the Olympics were a turning point in Au's career.

"(The Beijing Olympics) was my first time seeing so many different world-class people doing such great things, and I was like, ‘Whoa. Wait a minute. I could actually be one of them too,' " Au says.

With her desire to balance academic with swimming, Stephanie Au came to Berkeley where she found kindred spirits on a team full of successful swimmers her age. Instead of seeing swimming as a solitary activity, Au embraced the team concept.

"(Being at Cal) has changed me for the better," Au says. "Looking at things differently, I do think a lot of the things I learned on the Cal swimming team can be applied to my normal lifestyle. Not everyone has to be your enemy. Even if you are competing and are fighting for the same thing, there's room for both of you to be pushing each other."

After graduating, Stephanie Au has moved back to her native Hong Kong. From her Instagram page, it is clear that the photogenic swimming celebrity is now the spokesperson for several products. There are also a ton of photos of her with food.

The Hong Kong to Cal pipeline in women's swimming has been strong with 5 Hong Kong Calympians and all in just the last decade. While Stephanie Au is a longshot to fulfill her dream of medalling at this Olympic games, may her flagbearing experience inspire more future Hong Kong swimmers to follow her footstep to Berkeley in the future.

Good luck to Stephanie in Rio and GO BEARS!