Going back to school can be tough for swimmers.
It means walking into your first day of school with dripping wet hair after morning practice, mildly embarrassed because all of your classmates are looking their best for the occasion.
It means dozing off during 4th period because the lesson is dull and you did not get enough sleep last night after that grueling practice because you had so much homework.
It means showing up late to the first football game of the season because practice ran late, and it means leaving early because you have Saturday morning practice.
It means doing math homework in the locker room and rolling out while reading The Great Gatsby.
It means missing school days in favor of competing in meets.
It means sometimes sacrificing social events, your lips automatically forming the words “I can’t; I have practice.”
It also means that you are a leader on your high school swim team.
It also means that you know how to work hard and stay self-disciplined.
It also means that you have organizational and time-management skills far beyond your years.
It also means that the pool becomes your sanctuary, your release from the stresses of the academic world.
It also means that you value your teammates even more, because you are all in this together.
It also means that you will inevitably feel a warm glow of pride and a soft smile will play on your lips when your peers say, “I don’t know how you do it all.”
Swimmers know how to work. While balancing academics and athletics is a challenge, it is one for which swimmers are extraordinarily well-equipped. A test or project pales in comparison to the mental and physical obstacles that we as athletes must overcome every day.
Yes, school is starting again. But so is the opportunity to challenge yourself to be better in all aspects of your life as a student-athlete. Swimmers have a remarkable advantage over other students because of their commitments to greatness, and it is once again the time of year during which you have the opportunity to apply yourself both in and out of the water.
Going back to school is tough. It means having to work extra hard in every aspect of your life as a student-athlete, but it also means that you are presented with another opportunity for greatness. Are you going to take it?