How College Swimming Changed My Life: Arizona Coach Brandy Collins Maben

Photo Courtesy: Emma Schoettmer

By Emma Schoettmer, Swimming World College Intern

Brandy Collins Maben was University of Arizona Swimming women’s team captain when they won the 2008 NCAA team title. As a student-athlete, she was a member of three Pac-10 Championship teams and the 2008 National Championship team as a sprint butterflyer and freestyler.

Now a University of Arizona assistant coach and the women’s recruiting coordinator, she has helped lead the men’s team to a third-place finish and the women’s team to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA championships and continues to guide both teams.

All about the Journey, Not the Destination


Photo Courtesy: Brandy Collins Maben

As student-athletes, we strive to better ourselves in all areas– mentally, physically, and emotionally. As swimmers, we have created a world in which we can survive under the harshest of conditions. I mean after all, aren’t we all just a little bit insane, waking up every morning to try and conquer our dreams by staring at a black line for hours on end?

Yes, yes we are crazy– crazy talented, crazy dedicated. These are just a few things that make us swimmers and a few things that drive us to become the person we are outside the pool, after the pool.

Years from now we will look back and we will be proud to have represented a school and a team, we will appreciate the lifelong friends acquired and the skills developed as an athlete that will one day set us apart from the rest of the population.

Collins Maben has done just that. She listed the skills in which she acquired as an Arizona swimmer, skills that have carried over to her career choice, being a part of the Wildcat coaching staff. Brandy didn’t always envision herself a coach.

“I was pre-med and psychology as an undergraduate and through graduate school I discovered working with athletes was a passion I wanted to explore more, so I continued my coaching from the graduate assistantship I was currently in,” Brandy said.


Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics

Within her career, she has incorporated six major skills that are seen as beneficial to any job:

Teamwork, discipline, leadership, communication, routine, process.

Each of these skills are seen as common criteria for an advanced job opportunity. However, as a student athlete, these skill sets are developed from an early age and are often times perfected throughout the time spent on a collegiate team.

“Swimming is one of the more humble and grueling sports to participate in,” Brandy says when thinking about her life outside the pool. “My life is conducted in a very similar way– head down and hardworking due to this early habit established by swimming.”

As a swimmer myself, I can understand that need to excel in everything I do, and out of habit, working until that desire is met. No other sport I know willingly pushes their bodies that way swimmers do and then proceeds to push their minds all day in classes. As stated by Brandy, swimming is a humble and grueling sport.

The most important thing Collins-Maben has gained from the swimming are the people and connections.

“Lifelong friends and colleagues have all been established through the family of collegiate athletics, that not only fill my life with joy, but also help teach me more than anything the water and workouts ever could have.”

1 comment

  1. Patrick Howard

    Brandy Collins Maben is one of the truly great people I have met in my life. She is an inspiration to all.