My First Thanksgiving as a Swammer

by Laura Rosado 5

November 23rd, 2023 Lifestyle, News, Opinion

This Thanksgiving is the first that I’ll be celebrating as a swammer. A lot of things will be different. I’m not managing a taper for midseason next weekend. I don’t have to worry about waking up for a Friday morning practice. I haven’t even touched the water since last March.

I’ve spent more of my life with swimming than without, and if you subtract off the three or so years before conscious memories kicked in the ratio is even more lopsided. Figuring out who I am without the label of swimmer has been the theme of the last eight months, but in the spirit of the season (and at Braden’s behest) I’ve decided to take some time to reflect on what swimming gave me that I’m grateful for.

I was always thankful for the balance swimming gave me. For 13 years of my life, practice was a constant. It was two hours where I could leave everything else at the door and just focus on moving through the water. Nowadays, when 5pm rolls around, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m supposed to be at the pool.

My senior year of college, the theme of the season was “every day is an opportunity.” A full year of virtual classes taught me to take nothing for granted. Everything could change in the blink of an eye, and as constant a presence that swimming had been in my life, it wasn’t a guarantee. In a way, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic helped me confront the finite time I had left in my competitive career and appreciate every moment, from Monday aerobic practices to Saturday sprints.

As cliché as it is, I’m incredibly grateful for the community I gained from swimming. Some of my dearest friends are my college teammates, who have found new ways to stay competitive. Our latest kick is the New York Times Mini Crossword, which has the convenience of also being time-based. (My best time is 11 seconds.)

And now, being a swammer has let me engage with swimming in new and exciting ways. I spent last weekend on deck at the Terrier Invite, catching up with one of my college coaches in his first season leading a D1 program. I’ll spend next weekend at the MIT Winter Invite, learning how to run the timing table so I have an excuse to see my former teammates. And of course I’m here now, writing for SwimSwam and fulfilling my dream of nerding out about Division III in front of thousands of people. (Someone should send me back to Greensboro next March.)

To all the swimmers setting your alarms for Friday morning, take a moment to remember why we do this sport. To all the swammers, I hope you enjoy sleeping in. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

Laura was the universe’s best teammate…she always acknowledged her teammates on campus, cheered for them, knew their names, and responded enthusiastically and with a great smile when they spoke with her!! She was so welcoming especially to those younger than her. Any MIT swimmers, feel free to add on! Her presence on deck was truly one of a kind 🙂

3 months ago

11 seconds is crazy

Happy Slappy
3 months ago

Can the word ” swammer” be banned forever?

Reply to  Happy Slappy
3 months ago


3 months ago