Every year swimmers and their parents contemplate the college journey ahead. What no one tells you is that less than 10% of high school swimmers end up swimming in college. Those who want to swim in college are often unsure what steps to follow and end up severely stressed and overwhelmed by the task of finding a university environment and team where they will swim fast and enjoy their college experience.
At the 2018 SEC championships, Erika Brown from the University of Tennessee lit up the pool. Erika swept her individual events in the 50 free (21.39), 100 free (47.17), and her now signature 100 fly (49.85). Her time in the 100 fly made her only the 2nd woman to break the 50-second barrier.
Her statement “I realized I needed to invest in my teammates” rang true with me.
Not only has one of the fastest college swimmers of all time invested in her teammates, she’s investing in herself.
Her teammate at Tennessee, Ryan Coetzee sang her praises “I know she (Erika) spends quite a bit of time after practice doing core and stretching, but she’s also more relaxed this year. She really is one of those people that thrive off being with teammates and doing stuff together and for each other, that’s going to move them forward, so yeah the investment I think helps everyone get better themselves but also as a collective.”
This is becoming a far more familiar theme in college swimming. Swimmers are starting to understand that getting better isn’t only limited to their time in the pool and in the gym. In his comeback pursuit in 2016, The “GOAT”, Michael Phelps helped highlight the importance of stretching, cupping, scraping etc. With this, we have seen an increased sense of “ownership” with swimmers dedicating more time outside of the pool in pursuit of becoming the best in the history of their bodies. The top swimmers at the University of Tennessee are a prime example of this. Most are dedicating additional time outside their required 20 hours to get better. They understand that in order to get better they need to focus on investing in their teammates and in themselves.
Ryan Coetzee highlights the investment he is putting in himself, “I do treatments with our trainers on average 3 days a week but sometimes can even be 5 days depending on how much the body is struggling. These treatments help keep injuries at bay, especially with my shoulders and keeps my body recovering well to maintain training level. I try to do 3 yoga session a week of about 45min each, range of motion exercises and stretching for 30 minutes a day before bed I try to do every day but on some days I might just fall asleep instead if it’s been a crazy long day.”
How important is sleep and recovery? According to Ryan:
“I try to go to sleep at 9pm, but the goal is always the latest being 10pm, unless something is really due the next day or a tough exam. Makes a great difference when feeling a bit more rested and energetic in the morning.”
Do you know what a typical week looks like for a top division 1 swimmer? Here is a behind the scenes, here is the inside scoop of a typical week for a University of Tennessee sprinter
Every practice starts with a 15min dynamic warm-up and most practices also involve 5-10 min of mental training with Team psychologist Joe Whitney.
Tennessee, under the guidance of Matt Kredich and his coaches, have not only performed in the swimming pool. They continue to do it in the classroom. The men’s team has posted a team GPA of at least 3.0 for six consecutive semesters. The women have maintained a GPA of a 3.20 or better for over 10 consecutive semesters.
No matter who the swimmer is, they have all started with the dream of competing in college. With that dream comes the unsolicited “free advice” the uncertainty, the doubt and frustration. What steps do I need to take to swim in college and to receive a scholarship?
Allow us to help eliminate the guesswork. Allow us at Athletes USA to help you be a part of the 7.5% of high school that Do end up competing in college. We have helped over 3000 athletes achieve their dream of competing in US colleges. We will do the same for you.