5 Things to Keep In Mind When Returning to Club Swimming

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Photo Courtesy: Heidi Torregroza

By Maddie Strasen, Swimming World College Intern.

Even if you’ve only completed a year of college swimming, returning to USA Swimming and your old club team can make you feel like you’ve been gone for ages. College and club swimming can feel like two completely different worlds, but both should have the same common goal— train hard, improve yourself athletically and mentally, and enjoy the sport. However, your mindset and outlook might have to shift when reverting back to club swimming for the summer. Here are five things to keep in mind for your return to club swimming.

1. You have probably changed.

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Inevitably, college has given you many opportunities and experiences that your old teammates have not been able to seize yet. Your presence on the team will not be the exact same one it was one or more years ago, and it might feel strange for you. Your differences, though, are not necessarily bad, and can help you push you and your teammates to your fullest potential. You’ll only feel out of place if you tell yourself you don’t belong there. You are still a valuable asset to your old team!

2. Preach your new knowledge.

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Photo Courtesy: Heidi Torregroza

Your college swimming experiences have opened your eyes to new ideas in regards to swimming, training, and mental strength. Your teammates at home can benefit from sets in the pool, race strategies, strength training exercises, and anything else you may have learned so far competing at a higher level. Don’t be shy about sharing your experiences and new wisdom with the people who will appreciate and benefit from it most!

3. Don’t get frustrated with yourself or your teammates.

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Photo Courtesy: Maddie Kyler

It can feel difficult to push yourself when your college teammates aren’t there or you aren’t in a pool you’re used to training in anymore. You might find yourself getting frustrated with your practices and training. Additionally, you might become frustrated with your teammates who haven’t experienced college swimming yet and do not understand the extent of the training shift you are in. During these frustrating times, focus on what you are doing to improve your own performance and remember that your effort and patience are the most important aspects of every type of training.

4. Be a positive influence.

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Photo Courtesy: Kara Sekenski

Younger swimmers watched you grow into the college athlete that you are and look up to you for everything you’ve accomplished. You are allowed to enjoy your summer, such as taking days off when you need to, or changing some sets around when it is most beneficial to you (with your coach’s permission, of course), but don’t take too much advantage of the freedom that comes with being a collegiate athlete. Promote a diligent work ethic and help your teammates when you think they need it.

5. Enjoy the process.

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Photo Courtesy: Brenton Tse

You won’t get to experience club swimming forever—enjoy it while you can! It can feel like a breath of fresh air after training at school for so long.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.