4 Things Every College Freshman Should Know

Photo Courtesy: Colby Mallett, Suzanna Olsen, and Isabelle Pabon

By Katlynn Emaus, Swimming World College Intern

College is intimidating for any 18-year-old, but when college athletics come into play, it is another story. New teammates, new coaches, new pools and new foods are all things that swimmers need to adjust to, and fast. But that is what makes athletes so good at what they do: adjusting to the situation.

So here are four things that every college freshman should know…

1. Utilize the Training Room

Anti-rotation walkout swimming core training exercise

Photo Courtesy: G. John Mullen

The training room is there to help. The staff is skilled, professionals that are there to insure that you get the attention and treatment you need. There is no shame in going to trainers, ask the upperclassmen. It is better to be safe and get a shoulder injury checked out sooner than waiting four weeks than missing half your season because you hadn’t gone in earlier.

One thing which is common in every training room across the country and is underrated by most athletes: the ice bath. True, sitting in a 45 degree water tank for ten minutes can burn as much as the 400 IM long course, but the end results certainly outweigh those few minutes of pain (kind of like swimming). The ice bath helps repair muscle and flushes out some lactic acid resulting in reduced soreness– insuring that you’re ready to tackle your next training session at full force.

2. Keep an Open Mind


Photo Courtesy: Jessica Drogemuller

Odds are college swimmers came from years of swimming on a club or high school team. Through the years of experience on these teams, swimmers grow accustomed to the type of training. The thing is, college training is a horse of a different color. In order to succeed in the pool at a collegiate level it is vital that all faith is put in the coach. Never did a kick set before and now half the practice is kicking? Adapt to kicking, instead of your legs falling off at the 350 they might make it through the entire 500 at your big meet.

It is all a process. Quality yardage can turn into garage yardage when the swimmer’s mind is closed off to the purpose. Also keep in mind that this is the first time the college coach is actually watching the freshman swimmers train and practice. They offer a new set of eyes. Club coaches who have been watching a swimmer for a decade may not notice something that seems obvious to a coach who is seeing the swimmer do a turn for the first time. They are not just changing your stroke, they are improving it.

3. Foam Roll and Stretch


Photo Courtesy: G. John Mullen

Literally, foam roll and stretch whenever humanly possible. You. Will. Be. Sore…frequently. Adjusting to more yardage or adding weights will result with muscle soreness. There is no avoiding soreness. Whenever you tear your muscles down, they rebuild; and the result is serious soreness. However, swimmers can help themselves recover by stretching…actually stretching not absent mindlessly crossing one arm across their chest while chatting with a teammate.

Foam rollers or marshmallow sticks are very helpful tools in breaking up fascia, or tight clusters of muscle fiber. Actively stretching after a workout when the muscles are still warm will improve flexibility and prevent that lactic acid from settling and building up. This helps the swimmer recovery better before the next practice, and better training results in better competition.

4. Your Team is Your Family

Haley Anderson celebrates 500 free win with teammates.

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Jumping into a team where everyone already knows everyone can be as intimidating as jumping into a shark tank. The team will take care of the freshman and bring them under their wing. They are your family. You don’t need to worry about making friends, because your team is your automatic friend group. College can be a culture shock, but everyone on the team has been there and will help all the freshman get through it.

They have taken classes that freshmen are required to take, they can help tutor and mentor freshmen through difficult times. So freshmen, be yourself around them and don’t be afraid to ask for help. No need to be shy, you will be with these people for four years. They are your family, they won’t judge. After all, they’re all swimmers and swimmers are an odd bunch. Really, who else would jump into a freezing cold pool at obscene hours in the morning? Not sane people. So go on, ask the junior where Dodge Hall is, they will help.

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Daniel Smith
8 years ago


Heather Malzahn Roff
8 years ago


Jasper Van Laer
8 years ago

Lorenzo Toen ?

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