15 Things Freshmen Swimmers Learn In Their First Month of College

Photo Courtesy: Vermont Athletics

By Chandler Brandes, Swimming World College Intern

There’s no how-to guide for incoming freshman on what the life of a collegiate student-athlete will be like. Here are some things I’ve learned during my first month of college:

1. It’s okay to ask for help.

Without a doubt, college is an adjustment, and it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. You have plenty of resources available to you. If you need them, take advantage! No one wants you to feel overwhelmed or perform or feel poorly. It’s better to seek help to solve a problem than to wait until it gets worse.

2. The Freshman 15 could be a very real thing.

There are a lot of options in the dining halls, but not all of them are the most nutritious. As an athlete in a physically demanding sport, it’s crucial to eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Make sure you’re eating enough food, but make sure the food you consume will fuel you to keep you energized and feeling your best.


Photo Courtesy: Masahiro Ihara

3. It’s perfectly normal to feel homesick.

Whether you’re at college a few miles from your house or thousands of miles away, everyone adjusts differently, and it’s okay to miss home. Homesickness hits people at different times, and even if you’re not missing home at the moment, be sensitive to those who are.

4. Procrastination doesn’t help.

Juggling practice, sleep, eating, class, and homework is a lot. If you have free time, use it to catch up or to get ahead. Excessive procrastination in school will get you behind, which will have negative impacts on your academic and athletic performance.

Photo Courtesy: CollegeDegrees360

Photo Courtesy: CollegeDegrees360

5. It’s not high school; don’t expect it to be.

Your AP scores, who you sat with at lunch, and that bio test you failed sophomore year don’t matter anymore. College is a whole new ball game; embrace the new opportunity and leave high school drama at home.

6. Your actions can and will affect the team.

Any harmful choices you make outside of the pool could have a detrimental effect on the team. Always think before you act and be aware that your actions may have negative consequences.

7. Sleep is extremely important.

Getting enough sleep at night will drastically improve how you focus and perform in the classroom and in the pool. If you have free time and don’t have schoolwork to do, take a nap. Sleep is the best recovery tool available to us.


Photo Courtesy: A. Weisenfels

8. You and your teammates are going through the same thing.

You are never alone. Your fellow freshmen teammates are just as nervous and excited as you are, and the upperclassmen have already gone through what you’re experiencing. Talk to each other and help each other through the tough times. After all, you’ll be a family long after the four years spent together in college.

9. You’re now part of a bigger picture.

You don’t only represent yourself anymore. You are part of a team, a collegiate athletic program, and a university. Take pride in your team and school and represent yourself and them in a positive way.


Photo Courtesy: Vermont Athletics

10. Let someone know if you’re injured or in pain.

Freshmen swimmers have a higher rate of injury than upperclassmen. Don’t risk anything; if you feel like something isn’t right, speak up and talk to your coach or trainer. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

11. Expectations are higher.

You’re now being held to a much higher standard in the pool and in the classroom. However, this is nothing to be afraid of. Take this opportunity to improve yourself! Embrace the challenge and know that the outcome will be worth it.

12. Stay organized.

With so much going on, it can be hard to stay on top of everything. Get (and use) a planner to keep track of your classes, assignments, projects, meetings, and practice times.


Photo Courtesy: Flickr

13. Be patient.

It takes time to adjust to a new place, a new team, a new course load, new living situations, and a new coach. It’s okay if you don’t feel like you “get it” right away; it takes time.

14. Your team is your family.

You don’t have to be best friends with everybody, but make an effort to reach out and get to now your new teammates better; you’ll be spending a lot of time together. Be there for your teammates, and they’ll be there for you.


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

15. It’s not supposed to be easy.

Do not expect college to be a breeze; it takes a lot of effort and work. In class, focus on class, and in practice, focus on practice. Have a positive attitude and put forth your best effort. After all, things don’t get easier, you just get better.

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Janet Wolff- Stewart
8 years ago

Sierra Stewart

Leon Spector
8 years ago

Avi Cohen

Colleen Vonasek
8 years ago

GREAT words of advice for EVERYONE. …on any team from /in pool to building Your FAMILY in LIFE. ………TEAMWORK

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