So this winter season I’m having the pleasure of being an assistant coach at Arcadia University! I’m learning so much and I’m surrounded by some incredible student-athletes and swimmers. As a coach, the season can be full of the highest highs and the lowest lows but right now, in the dual meet season, our Women’s swim team is undefeated and our Men’s team has only one loss. The biggest thing I've learned from this experience is how important it is to be in a positive mental space. As we've been saying to our swimmers, racing is 90% mental. This past weekend we had a big meet at The College Of New Jersey. It is not quite a championship meet, but it's pretty close to it. So, swimming and a good mental headspace go together to help you meet your goals of the season. I had the pleasure of being able to interview one of my collegiate athletes to see how she remains present in the pool!
What has kept you swimming competitively? What are some benefits and challenges you’ve dealt with?
1. My love for this sport has kept me swimming competitively. Swimming teaches me something new about the sport and myself each and every day. When I’m swimming, I focus on just that, swimming. It’s an escape from everyday life. Also, the team atmosphere this sport brings is incomparable. What I feel makes the team atmosphere so unique, is the toughness of this sport. When you are swimming through a tough practice, you can always look to the person in front of you and behind you and realize that the whole team is in this together, and every single person in that pool is supporting you and encouraging you through every lap. Swimming teaches you countless life lessons. One lesson it teaches you is patience. To go a second faster, requires a lot of time spent doing hard and smart training. Pushing your body past its limits time after time is what makes you drop that second in your event. Improvements in swimming take time, and seeing the results requires patience. This sport also teaches you how to fail, and how to bounce back from failure. You are not going to win every race you swim, you are not going to drop time every race, you are not even going to make every set at practice, but knowing how to fail and how to work through that failure is the root of swimming. All of these aspects and more, are why I fell in love with this sport.
2. How do you want to keep improving?
Of course, in swimming you want to keep getting faster. You want to see how far you can push your body, how fast you can go. I want to keep improving by not only going faster, but to keep learning from swimming. Every day, this sport can teach you something new. It’s such a rapidly growing sport and swimmers and coaches are constantly finding new ways to go faster. Whether it be by new techniques, new sets at practice, new strength exercises, or new life lessons, swimming is such a valuable part of my life and learning more about it is how I want to continue to improve.
3. Name one of your favorite swim memories? It doesn’t have to be competition related.
My favorite swimming memory is when the Arcadia Women’s team went undefeated in dual meets last year. We were the underdogs in this situation, and even though there is no trophy or plaque or anything for going undefeated in dual meets, when we won that last dual meet of the season, we were all so excited. This showed all of us that swim meets are a team effort, every single person, every single race matters. It was honestly the most memorable moment for me, and I will never forget that feeling or the smile on each and every one of my teammate's faces.
4. What is a goal for the season?
My goals for this season are to go faster than I ever have before, but more importantly, a goal of mine for the season is to be a leader in and out of the pool. I am focusing on being a positive influence to my teammates, and always being there for someone they can lean on. I want my teammates to know that I will be there for anything they need, and I will always have their backs.
5. How do outside sources affect your swimming? Friends, class etc.
I try not to let outside sources negatively affect my swimming. When I’m at practice or a meet or a team function, I focus on just that. As I mentioned previously, swimming is an escape from everyday life for me. I always get my work and studying done so that I am able to just focus on swimming when I am there. Some of my closest friends are either on Arcadia’s swim team or were on teams that we were previously on together. The relationships I have with them positively affect my swimming. They are motivating and dependable and we help each other reach our goals together.