Courtesy of Aaron Schwartz. Follow: @aaronnschwartz
You’ve gotten into the college of your dreams and you will start swimming with them in the fall. You have this summer to relax and then it’s time for a major life change. What you do this summer and the first couple months of college, though, is crucial in setting yourself up for a good freshman year. No matter what division, here are some tips for making your first year of college one to remember forever.
1 – Stay in Shape
I don’t think I can emphasize this point enough. I know that your soon to be college coach and parents are telling you this, and believe me it can become an annoying thing to hear. The truth is the better shape you are in going into season the easier the beginning of season will be. It’s really that simple. Depending on the person, the level in which one decides to train is up to that particular person, but I would say to at least get in three times a week if you decide to not compete. Taking the entire summer off will make getting back in shape very tough and is not something your college coach will appreciate.
2 – Enjoy Your Summer
This is the last summer you have until heading to college, where the rest of your summers will be filled with internships or work. Although you may not have an internship your first summer of college, this summer could be the last summer in your life that you can sit back and just enjoy. Hang out with friends and spend time with family. You will not get to see these people on a regular basis like you’re used to, so spend time with them now while you still have the chance.
3 – Go to Captain’s Practices
Most schools have captain’s practices, where the team captains run practices before season starts. The practices can range from just getting in and doing a thousand yards or just playing a fun game to intense dry-land and a full practice. No matter which type of training the captains of your swim team decide on, attend these practices. Your attendance not only shows the captains that you are committed, but they help you excel during season. If you ditch these practices (which can be very tempting), the beginning of season will be much harder than necessary. And if you think the coaches don’t know who went to these pre-season practices, you’re fooling yourself.
4 – The First Month of School Is the Best
The first month of college, when you’re meeting all new people and don’t yet have official practices, is probably the most fun time of the year. Many teams have a lot of fun events for all team members to take part in and have especially fun things for freshman to do. Although you may feel uncomfortable because you have just met all these new people, take it all in. There are a lot of new things to learn about but embrace this time and just enjoy yourself. If your team is putting on fun events for the entire team, go to them and bond with your future team members. You’ll only be a college freshman once, so don’t be shy and have the time of your life.
5 – Communicate with Coaches and Professors
At first, your college coaches may seem a little intimidating, but don’t be afraid to go in and talk to them if you need something. They are there for you and they understand that at first college can seem like a lot. If your coach meets with people individually, make sure to be honest with him or her on what you would like to swim. If you have a scheduling conflict with classes, just go and see your coach. Your coach might be able to help you move around your schedule, and if they can’t, they will be glad you went in and took the initiative to tell them about the problem. The same here goes for professors. If you know you will be missing any class for meets, let them know well in advance so they have nothing to be upset about. Most professors will understand and appreciate that you have made the commitment to swim in college. If you need extra help in a class for any reason, it can be beneficial to go into that professor and get some help.