By Nicole E. Johnson, Swimming World College Intern
It’s that time of year when classes are starting up and college swim season is just around the corner. Being freshman on a college swim team can be intimidating. I’ve asked my upperclassmen teammates for some advice that may be useful to incoming freshmen on a swim team.
1. Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t improve right away.
You have four years to improve. Even if you don’t improve, be a hard worker. Coaches will appreciate how hard you work and teammates will want to emulate your work ethic. Make the most of every day and every practice.
2. Listen to your coaches.
Believe it or not, your coaches probably know more than you think about swimming. They want to help you succeed, so let them. Soak in every single piece of advice they give you. Coaches have a heart for swimming and for helping swimmers. They have devoted even more hours than you to helping the team and they usually know what’s best for you.
3. Meet people outside of the team.
You are going to spend so much time with your teammates that it is a smart idea to make friends outside of the swimming world. If your only friends are on the swim team, you are not going to be getting the most out of your four years of college. And it’s always fun to have friends and roommates come to your meets to support you from the stands.
4. Put forth an honest effort to get enough sleep.
I know you have multiple practices and classes every day, but sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body to recover from practice. Swimming for so many hours a day really takes a toll on your body and it is essential that you put aside time to get some more rest. Whether it is going back to sleep after morning practice, or taking a nap during the day, you will see improvements in your energy levels and daily performance when you get more sleep.
5. Make the most of having supportive teammates.
When you walk in on your first day of practice, you automatically have a whole new group of friends who are going to make a huge impact on your swimming career. Your teammates are going to see you at your worst during those grueling early morning workouts, but they are also going to see you at your best. They will be training hard with you throughout the whole season. Take advantage of training alongside some of your closest friends, because they are the ones who will motivate you to do things throughout the year that you may have once thought impossible.
6. Be a difference maker.
As a freshman, you have four years to make the team better. Get close to your captains, coaches and teammates because you still have a voice and have the ability to influence others in a positive way.
7. Have fun because it goes by way too fast.
Four years may seem like forever– so much changes from freshman year to senior year. Soak in all of the moments you share with your team because four years isn’t all that long. When you complete your senior season, you won’t want to look back and have any regrets. So plan on getting the most out of each day of your short four years as a college student-athlete.