4 Things I Have To Thank My NARP Friends For

Photo Courtesy: Jordan Domeier

By Delaney Lanker, Swimming World College Intern

NARPS (non-athletic regular people), muggles, non-athletes, whatever you call them, we all have them in our life. And we need them, because as much as we love our teammates and swimming, it’s important to switch it up a little.

I live in an apartment of five girls, one of my roommates is also on the swim team and the other three don’t play a sport at my school. These three and my many other non-athlete friends have unknowingly taught me a few things throughout my college career

So here’s to all my NARP friends, I don’t know what I’d do without you.

1. Being my #1 fans.

number one fans

Photo Courtesy: Rebecca Hoffman

There is no better feeling than getting up behind your block for a race and hearing your name screamed from the stands. Every single home meet that I’ve had in college I look forward to my friends’ echoing voices coming from the stands. Not many college kids would take a couple of hours to sit in a hot natatorium at noon on a Saturday, but my friends do.

Swim meets are long and pretty boring, but they cheer me on, take snap chat stories and think I swim blazing fast regardless of the time on the clock. That’s pretty awesome.

So thank you for being my personal cheering section.

2. Swimming doesn’t define me.

NU Swim and DIve

Photo Courtesy: Delaney Lanker

At the end of the season when you don’t go a best time in your best event, its easy to beat yourself up sometimes. It’s easy to get frustrated and be annoyed at all of the work you put in day in and out, to not see the results you wanted. But that time on the clock doesn’t define you as a person, it’s only one part that makes you, you. But sometimes we need a reminder of that.

So, it’s refreshing coming home after a long swim meet or practice, to the smiling faces of my roommates. Because they don’t care that I didn’t go a best time in the 200 fly or that I had a rough practice or that my breaststroke is awful. They don’t choose to hang out with me or be my friend because I’m a swimmer or how fast I go in the pool. They see me as a whole, not just the swimmer, but the swimmer and friend and student and the really short, loud girl they met freshman year.

While it is a large part of our lives, there is more to us than just being a swimmer. So thank you for reminding me that outside of the pool, I’m not just a time on the clock, I’m a person too.

3. Swimming isn’t the only sport out there.

lauren running

Photo Courtesy: Lauren Benoit

Cheering on my three friends during the Boston Marathon last year was thrilling. I can’t even comprehend how or why someone would run 26.2 miles straight, not to mention doing it quickly. Even though my NARP friends aren’t Division 1 athletes, doesn’t actually make them NARPs. They really aren’t NARPs at all. They run marathons, compete in Tough Mudders, are a part of the triathlon team, field hockey and lacrosse club teams, or simply go to the gym at 9 p.m. at night after class to get their workout in. They are athletes too.

Swimming isn’t the only way to stay in shape or compete. While it’s such a vital part of our lives, for most of us, our swimming careers will come to an end after college. And one day we will be NARPs too.

Thank you for giving me hope and reminding me that swimming isn’t the only sport out there.

4. It’s okay to have fun.

friends

Photo Courtesy: Delaney Lanker

Eat, sleep, swim, repeat. It’s an easy habit to get into during the long winter training months with two practices a day, piles of homework and not enough hours in the day to do it all.

But that’s not healthy. The skill of balancing a social life, being on the swim team and school is an art and cannot be done alone. Coming home after a long day to de-stress, vent and goof around with my roommates is just what I need. Having fun isn’t just going out on a Saturday night, but little things like going to brunch on Sunday mornings, going apple picking, or having a girl’s night at home.

I love my teammates, and I love being a part of a college swim team. Swimming has helped shape who I am and it is something that is irreplaceable. But we don’t always talk about the other side of things, the other people in our lives that aren’t on our team. They are just as important and help us create balance. My college non-swimming friends have added some much needed spice in my life and remind me that there is more to my life than just swimming. It’s made me a happier, more well balanced athlete and friend, and that is something I will always be grateful for.

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Author: Delaney Lanker

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Delaney Lanker is a junior at Northeastern University studying journalism. She is a butterflier and captain of their NCAA Division I team. Before college, she swam for the Colorado Stars.

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