10 Things I’ve Learned From College Swimming (So Far)

Written and courtesy of Katie Lafferty.

  1. Lifting is the best time of the week. Being able to challenge myself in a way I never have before has been something I enjoy so much. Being in an atmosphere that isn’t a chlorine filled room is always nice too.
  2. Sprint group and Distance group are more different than just the distance that is focused on. It’s amazing how different the atmosphere is in each group. However, both groups can and are fun if you just embrace it.
  3. Just because you are a conference champion in one event does not mean you are limited to only swimming that event for the rest of your college career. One year you’re a conference champion, the next year you have zero confidence in the event. It’s okay to do something different, something you are more confident in.
  4. If you want to try a new event, make it known. Work hard on improving your skills in that event so that when your time comes, you are ready. My freshman year I asked week after week to swim the 500 free just once. Coach was hesitant, after all, I was recruited as a sprinter. A year later, I won the 500 Free at the conference meet.
  5. Junior year is rough. I’ve consulted with many people over the last 10 months, and nearly everyone has had the same response, junior year was the worst year. If you can make it through junior year, you can make one more year.
  6. You meet some crappy people along the way, but the good people heavily outweigh the bad. I nearly gave up on my dreams of swimming all four years in college because of the people I had met along my journey. Now that they are no longer in my life, I can focus on what will benefit me, rather than focusing on protecting myself in all situations.
  7. You will create bonds with the girls from “rival schools” in your conference. Being able to talk to the girls on other teams during meets and catching up online is something that will be one of my favorite parts of college swimming. Not only have you created bonds with the girls on your team, but you create bonds with the girls from your entire conference (at least in the NEC)
  8. The time spent in hotel rooms with your friends and teammates will be the times when you realize you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. As athletes we spend a lot of time traveling and living in hotel rooms. I’ve learned so much about my teammates during these travels meets and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
  9. Learn to be proud of your accomplishments. Throughout my first two years of college whenever I was voted on for an award I would get backlash about it from a few teammates. This led me to hating being recognized for my swimming. I dreaded it and eventually just never told anyone when I was recognized for something. It’s not a way to live. Learn to be proud of what you have done, even if others can’t be happy for you.
  10. Believe in yourself, believe in your team, believe in your coaches. If you don’t believe in yourself and the people around you then you will never be able to accomplish anything, individually or as a team.


Katie Lafferty‘s Bio:

I am a college swimmer representing Saint Francis University (PA). As a junior in college, I have been recognized numerous times by the North East Conference and collegeswimming.com as NEC swimmer of the week. I am a school record holder in the 200 free and 500 free, as well as the 200 free relay.

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JP input too short
5 years ago

This is awesome. I’m 6 years removed from my college swimming career but this time of year always brings back the nostalgia. So much of this was exactly my experience.