Swimming in college in the USA - Do you have what it takes?

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Oct 17, 2011

Swimming in college in the USA - Do you have what it takes?

Learning to swim at an early age can have many more advantages than just mastering a necessary water survival skills. It could for example lead to a longer term swimming career which will affect ones life even if they do not plan on it. Sure, not everyone will be in the Olympic ranks with Ryan Lochte, Alexander Popov, Ian Thorpe or Michael Phelps, however, if some swimming dedication is present in a person, it is not unreachable to pursue swimming at a collegiate level. There are many collegiate swimming levels and therefore many opportunities for a swimmer to take part in this wonderfully competitive sport. However, as it is with every good thing in life, swimming in college also comes with a price. More about what it entails to be a swimmer in college from Marina.
Swimming Pool at the Olympic Training Center, Colorado

This is a guest post by Marina Salsbury who planned on becoming a teacher since high school, but found her way instead into online writing after college. She writes around the web about everything from education to exercise.

Enter Marina Salsbury
If you're considering participating on a swim team in an American college or university, more power to you. There are, however, some issues you should weigh before taking that literal plunge. Being on a collegiate swim team has tremendous advantages and positives such as team comraderie, but it also demands hours each week in the pool and away from your free time in addition to time in the library and taking online college classes. If you or your child is considering swimming in college, please understand that it requires a firm commitment in order to excel. Moreover, if you're thinking about going pro, swimming in college is invaluable and depending upon your individual event(s), may require you to swim 7,000 - 10,000 yards (~6500 - 9000 meters) or more each day.

So what are the ups and downs of swimming in college? You'll have to wake up well before any of your other fellow students, for starters. Swim practices typically begin at 6:00 AM sharp. For many students, this means no late-night partying, but instead going to bed much earlier than everyone else because it’s guaranteed you will need that rest for the morning training. A typical morning swim workout will consist of roughly 3,500 yards (3200 meters) of swimming over the course of 90 minutes. However, don't despair, you will not have to do this alone. A plethora of devoted teammates will keep you company and will not hold back any sly remarks about your morning hairdo.

Not only will you have to get up before the crack of dawn, you’ll have to participate in yet another training session later in the afternoon for another swim team workout. By committing to swim team training five or six days a week and three or more hours each day, your social life outside of the swim team will be severely impacted. You also have to be careful about choosing the right foods, especially before a big competition. There is no question being a competitive swimmer in college requires an enormous commitment on your part but there is an upside to all of these countless hours of training in the pool.

Improve your swimming skills at university
The big positive is that you have the sense of pride of being a college athlete and excelling at what you love. Because you'll be paying careful attention to your nutrition needs, you'll also very likely be much healthier than your partying friends. If you search hard enough and apply yourself, you might even score a swimming scholarship, so your tuition fees will be cheaper. The luxury of traveling to meets means you will be able to see many places throughout the country that you might otherwise miss. For elite collegiate swimmers, this can even mean travel to other countries. As an example, if you are an elite swimmer you can compete in one of the premier swimming events in the Pan American Games, this year’s event to be held next month in Guadalajara, Mexico.

If you excel in elite swim events such as the Pan American Games, the NCAA Swim Championships, and other top events, you might even have the honor of representing your country even further by swimming in the most prestigious swimming event of all, the Summer Olympics (held next year in London, England). Many world-class athletes dream about the incredible honor of standing on the Olympic podium and receiving that coveted gold medal while representing their countries. While as a college athlete your status has to remain as an amateur in these competitions, you still can earn many other rewards including endorsements from sport companies and others sponsors, which can kick off an ongoing professional athletic or other career.

Beyond your collegiate career, you'll have gained immeasurable experience in swimming and fitness from your coaches and peers as well as life long skills such as ability to perform under pressure, ability to work on a team or ability to pay attention to detail (if you work on perfecting your swimming technique). All of these skills become an advantage after the college education is finished and decision to pursue ones career path has to be made. Especially, if you choose to pursue a career of coaching, collegiate or otherwise, swimming in college is invaluable. Perhaps most rewarding of all, incorporating swimming into your life after college might grant you the distinction of working in field you truly love and can enjoy for the rest of your life.

From Swimator Blog: If you are interested in swimming in college and what you read above scares you as it feels like a lot of work. Stop and think of it this way, many millions of students have done this before you, so it cannot be all that bad. Yeah sure, swimming at a university requires some dedication and commitment, however, the benefits of life long friends, skills and attitude by far outweigh it all. If it would be easy, would you get as much out of it? Probably not :). If you are considering swimming in college, learn more about your scholarship opportunities.
Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.


Swimsuits said...

It is literally good to take part in college swimming team.Those who are health concious they must get the benefit from it in the future days of their life.The physical ability here groomed by the college trainer, must help every one to be benefited.