Dear College Seniors

Photo Courtesy: Emory Athletics

By Seren Jones, Swimming World College Intern

Everything seems rather like it always has been. Not much has changed. The dorms are the same. Classes are relatively similar. The pool hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed for certain is you. Because whether you want to believe it or not, you’re a senior.

For most of us seniors, we’re still finding it difficult to grasp this overwhelming concept. Senior. Senior year. One more year. Although over the summer, we were aware that we would be entering our final year at college, and were used to the “What are your plans after you graduate?” type of questions. But nothing hits you harder than when you’re at practice, or in the classroom, or doing whatever it is you’re doing, when you suddenly realise that this is it.

“Where did the time go?” you wonder. Between weekly dual meets, double practices, academics, rehab, invitationals, naps, athletic banquets, and eating, who really knows? When we’re amid the non-stop action, it can seem as though time is sluggish. The sets in the pool drag on as though time has frozen, and common hour seriously can’t come around quickly enough. But now here we are, only six months away from hanging up our goggles and suits for good.

So don’t you that think after the years of blood, sweat, tears, chlorine, lactic acid, chocolate milk, team trips and meals, and ice packs we ought to reflect on our journey, now that the end is nigh?


Photo Courtesy: Jason Van Galder

Photo Courtesy: Jason Van Galder

Firstly, if it wasn’t for our crazy parents, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Our parents who agreed to wake up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to drive us to and from practice; who repeated the journey the same evening at least six days a week; who invested their time, money, energy, and support; who rescheduled the family vacations and missed their free weekends; who were there to witness the great swims, the okay swims, and the “I’m gonna quit” swims.

The amount our families have sacrificed for us should make us forever indebted to them. Most of us couldn’t have asked for a better fan club. So when the day comes that they watch you swim your last race at your last meet – be it a senior meet, a conference meet, or NCAAs – remember what they have been through and that they have always been a part of your journey. This year, swim for them.



Photo Courtesy: Donna Nelson

Our coaches are another extremely significant element that has changed our perspectives on our sport, our teammates, and most importantly ourselves. Many have swam in and out of our careers, but have left a wake that will never settle. From the young instructors at the local pools who used to persuade us to get in the water in the first place, to the other coaches who taught us how to doggy-paddle and float on the surface.

Then there were those who taught us how to get yourself pumped and emphasized excitement and competition. Then there were the coaches who made us hate the sport because we were bored of staring at the black line, or fed up of doing push-ups because we didn’t listen in practice. Of course, everyone had an older and wiser coach who just bored us to death with his swimming philosophies, and finally, we have our college coaches.

Whether we know it or not, most if not all of our coaches have had some sort of an affect on us. Regardless if it was positive or negative, it still contributed to us being seniors on our college swim team. We’ve made it this far, and we should thank them for that. So when the day comes that they watch you swim your last race at your last meet – be it a senior meet, a conference meet, or NCAAs – remember what they have been through and that they have always been a part of your journey. This year, swim for them.


(140818) -- NANJING, Aug. 18, 2014 (Xinhua) -- Gold medalist Liliana Szilagyi of Hungary celebrates the winning on the podium during the awarding ceremony of the women's 200m butterfly final match of swimming event at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, on August 18, 2014. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)(tjh)

Photo Courtesy: Fei Maohua/Youth Olympic Games

The most important person in this crazy, unpredictable, fulfilling, heart-breaking chlorine-scented journey. You. After however many years of enduring one of the world’s most mentally and physically demanding sports, it’s time to give it one final push. You’ve been through it all, the entire journey, and it was the furthest thing from easy.

The time, the effort, the commitment, the sacrifices. The practices, the doubles, the drylands, the weights room sessions. The injuries, the rehab, the reoccurring injuries, the heat packs. The endless underwaters, the crazy club swimming practices, the Gatorade chugging, the carbo-loading. The physical recovery, the mental recovery, the resilience, the self-belief. The teammates, the success, becoming conference champs, defending the conference title. The qualifying times, achieving the qualifying times, the bigger meets, the better experiences. The tears of sorrow, the tears of joy, and the tears of nostalgia.

It all comes down to these last six months. So when the day comes and you’re behind the block at your last race of your last meet – be it a senior meet, a conference meet, or NCAAs – remember what you have been through and recollect your journey. This year, swim for you.

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