6 Reasons Why Swimmers Make the Best Students

School work
Photo Courtesy: Shelby Iava

6 Reasons Why Swimmers Make the Best Students

Early alarm clock rings. Morning lifting practice. Breakfast. School. Lunch. Practice. Dinner. Homework.

Swimming steals a lot of your time and begs the question as to when is there ever time for school? Our education is an important part of our development and future opportunities. Yet, it can be tough to find time for schoolwork. But in actuality, swimming produces exccellent students and here’s why:

1. We know about time management.


Photo Courtesy: Robin Sparf

The clock is our frenemy and it seems that there is always a constant battle between when we are needed in the pool or in the classroom, in stark contrast to when our bodies simply shut down for the day. Having swam for numerous years as well as being in school for at least twelve, we have mastered the concept of time management and fitting everything in. 

2. We can do homework anywhere.

Students Beach Studying

Photo Courtesy: Dan Worden

Knowing we don’t have time to waste, we have trained ourselves to dodge water pellets as we do our homework at a swim meet, or how to stay focused on a lengthy busride while reading an assigned book or chapters on a specific topic. We squeeze every moment of free time picking up the pieces to make sure that we don’t fall behind.

3. We don’t complain about work. 


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Nothing is worse to us than long course ladders (except a long course ladder pull set), so we learn to not complain about the little things. Our coaches have taught us that complaining about a set will do nothing to change it for the better, so we have learned that simply doing our work saves us time and our breaths.

4. We’re scared of failure.

KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: (L-R) Adam Peaty, Chris Walker-Hebborn and Siobhan-Marie O'Connor of Great Britain celebrate winning the gold medal in a new world record of 3:41.71 in the Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay Final on day twelve of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 5, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Photo Courtesy: Adam Pretty

Swimmers, more than other athletes, acknowledge their successes and failures as solely their own—we cannot blame another team for beating us. Our performance reflects our work; and the same translates into the classroom. We do not blame the teacher or professor for bad marks. Instead, we think to ourselves what we could have done better and in the end, this work ethic pays off.

5. Swimmers don’t take themselves too seriously.


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

With our heads stuck in the water and our brains muffled out by the song on repeat in our head, swimmers cherish every second they have above the surface. And while we stay focused on the workout at hand, we learn how to covertly splash our teammate in the next lane when our coach’s back is turned or to tell a joke in the 30 seconds before the clock beeps a sendoff.

This lightheartedness reinforces a demeanor that allows us to accept challenges and adversity with a smile on our faces and our arms open.

6. Swimmers enjoy the little things.


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

The simple things we realize make practice a little more worthwhile, and the little things in school make it a bit more interesting. The sunrise that peaks through the horizon and glistens on the surface of the water wills us to stop. The same goes for the lame joke told by the professor or teacher, or the great song that came on your playlist as you’re studying. The little things make the assignment and the brooding thought of studying for a test enjoyable. In short, we attempt to make everything enjoyable.

Swimming while in school is not an easy hack to pick up. Yet, swimmers have mastered the demands over years and years of practice. Little did we know that our mothers yelling at us to finish our homework before we left for club practice would mold us into students who successfully juggle majors with a full swim schedule. Although swimmers must balance their time between the demands of a sport as well as the demands of school, swimmers are still the best students around. 

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


  1. Johnny Karnofsky

    When I was in school, they compared the GPA’s of students across all sports and the aquatics teams had the highest GPA’s, the highest average GPA’s, and the highest of the lowest GPA’s over any other team on campus…..

    The Army recruiters even staged a fitness contest, using the APFT at the time, and the aquatics teams scored the highest on that as well…..

    So we were the fittest, and the strongest after all…..

    • Ildiko Morris

      Johnny Karnofsky I also find that swimmers are the calmest. There is something about the water and swimming that chills you out. Best sport ever

    • Ildiko Morris

      Johnny Karnofsky mine too. Love it. I could live in a pool

    • Ellen Hammen

      Johnny Karnofsky I makes me so sad that colleges are cutting swimming programs like UConn ☹️

      • avatar
        alessandra santana

        I don’t know about the scores and GPA but swimming build the best caráter that I have seen !! Proud to be swimmer mom and retired swimmer !

  2. Kathryn Newberry

    I hate ladders… Its like going up the ladder one rung, then falling off the ladder, then up 2 rungs, then falling off again… Then 3 rungs… Till you barf.

  3. Rolf Linse

    Although I was a competitive swimmer myself and have been a part time coach for 35 years, I don’t agree. It’s true that competitive swimmers know about time management, sacrifice and so on, but they are not the only one. I’m currently teaching in a German Gymnasium (grades 5th through 12th) specialized in helping young elite sportsmen and -women to manage extensive training, competitions etc. and school. From my experience, the most disciplined and best students are the (female) gymnasts. On the highest level – members of the Olympic team – they train up to 35 hours a week and some of them only get the best grades in all 10 to 15 subjects.

  4. Zee Lee

    Too legit to quit. They forgot that one.

  5. avatar

    Truth, spot on.

  6. avatar
    Leo Letendre

    When I was swimming in college in the 1970’s, the NCAA published team GPAs. Swimming was always first or second with Cross Country holding the other spot. I don’t know if it is true today but it was true back then. As someone else commented, it doesn’t make sense for these schools to drop swimming if it is still true in part because the sport surely raises their composite athlete GPA.

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