View Full Version : Hey all! I'm back...and with a tough decision

July 11th, 2006, 10:18 PM
...to swim or not to swim?

As some of ya'll might remember, I wrote a small blog on my daily swimming activities as a college swimmer this past season. If not for my back injury, I'm sure it would have been much more exciting...but oh well.

Well the season ended a few months ago, and I've been largely a land lubber since. Now that I'm settled for the summer though, I'm getting back into the pool on a regular basis.

The question is... do I swim as a member of the varsity team next year?

I just can't really decide.

My coach quit at the end of the season to move with her husband to Rhode Island (where he became the new head soccer coach at the university of rhode island). The new coach of both the men's and women's program is the former assistant coach of the men's team, Jason.

He's a pretty nice guy, but since the men's and women's teams were seperate last year, I don't really know much about his coaching methods.

I've got it down to the pros and cons of swimming next year, but I still can't decide what would be best...

Pros: Great exercise - forces me to go swim even when I'm tired
Seeing my teammates again
A chance to actually compete
The ability to say I'm still a college swimmer...

Cons: Last year's practice schedule was brutal. If this year is the same...if it's the same this year it means:
Crunch on academics
No social life for 5-6 months
Constantly exhausted

..possible reinjury of my back (although unlikely)

I just don't know. I'm concerned about my academics. I really screwed up my spring quarter, for unrelated personal reasons, and as a result my GPA is in the toilet. Since I'm entering my junior year, pulling up my academics is of huge concern to me. Also, I'm going abroad in the spring...so if I had no time to spend with my real friends during the season I wouldn't see them at all during the year....

....But I don't want to be a quitter. I know I wouldn't abandon the sport...but....agh...

What do I do?

Rob Copeland
July 11th, 2006, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by hmlee
...to swim or not to swim?
What do I do? SWIM!!!!!!!!!!

July 11th, 2006, 11:20 PM
Quit if you want or Swim if you want, the decision is yours maybe???

Maybe the new coach may not want you... or maybe the new coach will want you,

Maybe the decision about you swimming Varsity will not be up to you, or Maybe it will...

If it were up to me I am with Rob SWIM!!!!SWIM!!!!

July 11th, 2006, 11:28 PM
I'd like to add that if I did decide not to swim as varsity next year, I'd join the master's team instead. So it's not a question of swimming or not really, it's a question of swimming varsity or not.

July 12th, 2006, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by hmlee
I just don't know. I'm concerned about my academics.

I know it sounds weird, but I always found it easier to study when I was swimming. You just don't have the extra time to procrastinate.

If you swim you will have a social life. It will totally revolve around the pool and your teammates, but it's a social life. It's a hell of a lot healthier social life than what the typical college student has, that's for damn sure.


July 12th, 2006, 07:32 AM
My observation of my own kids is that swimming helped their study habits.

My suggestion is for you to contact Jason and go talk to him. Tell him about your reservations, size him up and see how he reacts, see what he has to say, and use that to help yourself decide what you want to do.

July 12th, 2006, 07:32 AM
My observation of my own kids is that swimming helped their study habits.

My suggestion is for you to contact Jason and go talk to him. Tell him about your reservations, size him up and see how he reacts, see what he has to say, and use that to help yourself decide what you want to do.

Leonard Jansen
July 12th, 2006, 07:43 AM
You only get a maximum of 4 years to swim for your college team and you will have decades to swim masters. I ran competitvely for my college and still remember it - 30+ years later - as one of the highlights of college. So, I'd vote swim college. Remember, if it starts to be a problem, you can always quit & join masters, but in the near future, once you are done with college, you won't be able to quit masters to rejoin your college team.

BTW, you can also consider renouncing the Dark Side and come over to open water swimming.

Whatever you do, keep swimming!


July 12th, 2006, 09:06 AM
Swim. You know you want to!!

July 12th, 2006, 11:18 AM
I'm 45. One of my few regrets in a life otherwise pretty well lived is deciding my freshman year not to swim for my Div. III college. Sure wish I'd have at least tried it for a year or two.


July 12th, 2006, 11:26 AM
I know that my grades were definitely much better the years I swam in college than the one year that I didn't. Infact when I came back for my senior year after much deciding on whether to come back- which I did- I had my best grades ever. And senior year I was taking several graduate level microbiolgy classes. Oh and I was swimming at a school in the UAA conference so I know what the course load is like. :)

July 12th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Personally speaking, I would pose for the cover of FHM if I could be twenty again and swimming on my college team.

July 12th, 2006, 02:17 PM
I'd say try to swim. You already know the new coach, stop by the office and mention your concerns. Be clear about those pros and cons you listed. There may be a compromise that works for both of you, if not it'll make your decision easier if you have more concete information.

No social life for 5-6 months, what are your teammates doing? :confused:

July 12th, 2006, 02:43 PM
...also having no social life. My school is an exceptionally difficult one....

It really depends on if the practice schedule is going to be as brutal as it was last year, I think. That's what really killed it...

July 12th, 2006, 03:32 PM
Figure you'll spend 20 hours a week at the pool. Add 15 hours a week of classes on that and you're at 35 hours per week. Heck, most of us masters types spend much more time just working THEN we swim on top of that :)

Yeah, you'll be busy. All colleges are tough and time consuming. Plenty of people balance sports and academics and are very successful at it.

July 12th, 2006, 03:48 PM
I know what I'm about to say will sound tough but rather than patting you on the head I think you need a kick in the butt. Soneone needs to be honest with you and tell it like it is.

I think you need to do some serious soul searching and be completely honest with yourself about what you want to do in the pool and in school as well but that's another topic. I realize you have nothing to compare with but what you describe as brutal was in fact less demanding than almost any other college program I've ever been around or even most high level agegroup teams. If you think that was too difficult than maybe it is time to join the Masters program.

Some day when your our age, have kids, a full time job and all the other things that go along with adult life, plus trying to find time to swim, you're going to look back on this and realize that it may be the most fun and easiest time of your life.

Get off your rear end, call the coach, find out if you can live with him and if so get back on the team. If you do then make a committment, set some goals and give it your honest best effort.

I hope you do swim again and do well.

July 12th, 2006, 03:59 PM
Most college swimmers from our time had to swim, work and go to school.

One I know worked at two partime jobs plus sold hot dogs at all the football games. He graduated in the upper 20%.

Just get on with it.

July 12th, 2006, 04:37 PM
Howard - most other swimming programs at colleges are certianly more rigorous than mine was... but most other colleges are, academically, nowhere close to as difficult as the U of C. We have a certain reputation here...

And you can't really judge the difficulty of my program based on the workouts I posted in my thread as I was rehabbing my back injury for the majority of the season.

July 12th, 2006, 06:15 PM
hmlee, the master's team at the U of C wasn't all that fabulous for me. There was just none of the energy or passion that you'd find on a competitive swim team, or on a master's team with people who actually compete. I defected loooooong ago. Swim with the real team if they'll take you.

BTW, the academics at the U of C aren't that bad -- you said yourself that it was your personal trauma that messed you up last year. It wasn't swimming.

July 12th, 2006, 07:19 PM
Originally posted by hmlee
but most other colleges are, academically, nowhere close to as difficult as the U of C.

So exactly how many of these "other colleges" have you attended?

July 12th, 2006, 07:59 PM
And have you attened the U of C knelson? I didn't think so. You don't need to go to a school to know about it's academic workload. I was speaking in generalities anyway - if you don't think that the U of C is academically more rigorous than many schools out there then.....

July 12th, 2006, 08:00 PM
You already know in your heart what you want to do and that is SWIM! Otherwise you would not have asked us on this swimming forum . . .
Seriously you should try it at least, you will regret it later in life - we masters swimmer are willing to wait for you and you will have us the rest of your life!

July 13th, 2006, 12:40 AM
You did ask us for our opinion and mine is basically that people use "I want to focus on academics" as an unwarranted excuse not to swim. Maybe U of C is the toughest school in the country, I don't know. But I do know many people have been able to balance academics and athletics at that institution and every other one in the U.S. that offers athletics. The bottom line is do you think you're up to it? We don't know you outside this board you so we can't answer that specifically. All we can do is offer you our personal experiences and hope that helps you decide.

July 13th, 2006, 09:43 AM
With all due respect, the "you don't understand" excuse isn't going to carry a lot of weight. Remember you are talking to a group comprised mostly of parents and I'll bet we've all heard it a 1000 times from their own kids. Fact is we do understand. Many of the people on the board went to school, some difficult and some not as difficult. Lots of us also swam on a much higher level. We managed to go to school, graduate, have some sort of significant other, and a social life. We've become doctors, lawyers, teachers, soldiers, engineers, etc, etc and we've managed to continue to swim even when our daily lives make it almost impossible.

All I'm trying to tell you is make up your mind that it's something you want to do badly enough to make it work. It's going to be hard but most things in life worth having come with a price. If you can't live with what it takes to be on the team then maybe it's time to move on to the next phase of your life and have no regrets.

July 13th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Good to see you back on this discussion board; I enjoyed your posts.

I'll chime in with the SWIM vote. Swim now, quit later if you need/want to....quitting now and swimming varsity later isn't an option.

I agree with previous posts about needing to clarify your goals, and if swimming is one of them, follow up by meeting with the coach and preparing yourself physically and mentally for the season.

Being on a varsity team and maintaining good grades is not impossible. Yes it's hard work - but again, be proactive. Have you got reading lists for next year's courses yet? Bought and perused the textbooks? School is like an athletic season - it's easier if you go in with a base fitness level.

Good luck, I look forward to more posts from you!

July 13th, 2006, 03:44 PM
I'll also agree with everyone else, swim! Worst case is, you quit the team partway through the season. If you don't try, you'll probably always wonder what would have happened if you had decided to swim.

Sonic Swimmer78
July 14th, 2006, 10:36 AM

Seriously, swimming has helped many a person, whether it be for mental or physical reasons.

As for me? It's helped me two fold. I've met depression right in the face and Swimming has helped me ever since I've got back in the pool (and after a ten-year hiatus from swimming, too!!) and joined my Masters Team in '04.

As for the Varsity Team?? Give it a shot, what's the worse that could happen?? If you don't qualify for the team, it's no sweat off your back, at least you gave it your best.

If you're not already in a Masters Swim Club, do so, you won't regret it! You'll meet a lot of folks who share the same passion of swimming as you do, and possibly that one person that stands out of the crowd because of their enormous enthuseasm for the sport (I being one of those who has enormous enthuseasm myself) because swimming has changed their life so much and for the better, too.

Rob Copeland
July 14th, 2006, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by knelson
I know it sounds weird, but I always found it easier to study when I was swimming. Didnít your books get wet????

July 14th, 2006, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by Rob Copeland
Didnít your books get wet????


But I see the basic point...

HMLee, I wasn't a swimmer in college (we didn't even have a swim team, but that aside...). In fact, I wasn't that much into any competitive sport until well into my 30s. I'm now in my 50s, trying to balance my running and swimming w/ the rest of my life. Here's what I've noticed: quality of life/work improves when I can stick w/ my training schedule. Granted, I'm not at your level, and my swimming doesn't comprise as much of my day as yours undoubtedly does... altho, swimming/running together seems to take a chunk of time...

One story as an example: I had a deadline for a paper I was presenting at a conference and on the same day a crucial running workout (was training for a track 1500 and very much wanted the pieces to fall into place). Was going to bag the workout, thinking there would be no time to do that and finish the paper. But that nagging little voice that I get every so often when thoughts like that come up was telling me to do the workout no matter. I was doubtful but went ahead w/ the workout. AND came back from it all energized to finish the paper--which, in fact, I finished in time.

Another time I wasn't sure if I had the time for a particular workout... but needed it psychologically so much! So I did it, wrote about it, and a friend read what I wrote, passed it along to another friend... and the piece of writing got published in a book!

Following your body's wisdom often ends up helping your mind in unexpected ways. I can understand your anxiety about whether you'll have time for it all. I've felt the same way lots of times. I can't pretend I'm the best manager of time around by any means, but it helps when I can listen to the whole person I am... not only to the person with the academic/career goals and to the runner/ swimmer/ dreamer, I end up in a better place.

If you're uncertain about the coach, as the others said, talk to him. He might have some ideas that will help you. Also, does your school have an academic support program for athletes? A lot of schools do, and sometimes they'll offer things like time management and other such workshops or counseling. Might be worth looking into.

Good luck no matter what you decide!

... off to my wet books... :)

July 14th, 2006, 01:15 PM
SWIM!! BUT only swim if you are going to be 100% committed to the team, the season and most importantly, yourself.

As far as studies.....I earned my best grades when I was "in season". My time was scheduled around workouts . We also had a mandatory team study hall once a week.
As far as social life..... well I went to Cal State University, Chico so there wasn't a shortage of social life. The girls on my team got along really well so we partied together and we would party with the guys team also.

Goodluck with your decision.

July 14th, 2006, 01:25 PM
I'm a lawyer. I had an important trial yesterday. Thursday is a master's workout day. We swim from 6 -- 7:30 am. I almost bailed on the workout for some extra trial prep time, but went instead and got out 15 minutes early to make sure I got the office and court on time. Maybe it's the endorphin buzz, or just the early morning activity, but I am calmer, and I think consequently sharper, after a workout. The trial went just fine, and the 75 minutes of extra prep would not have made a difference one way or the other.

You should be able to balance swimming and academics (even Harvard has a swim team, and a good one at that), and I believe the swimming will actually help your study habits.

July 14th, 2006, 01:38 PM
Life is opportunities and what you make of them, I agree with the thought that you have an opportunity you will never have again why waste it.
As for the social life, how much do you really need? Again I agree with earlier posts, between work 40 hours, commuting 8 to 10 hours, parenting responsibilities such as homework, sports, vounteering for their sports and school activites, and those lovely household chores such as dinner laundry and oh yeah some time for the hubby, I would kill for hours on end in a pool. Instead it is a coordination of schedules the likes an army platoon would be envious of to get to the pool 3 x week, and sometimes skipping lunch to get a 40 minute quickie in - swimming that is.
You can be a Master for years to come and balance the above and possibly more, so while you have the luxury to study and swim and play - go for it! ( I didn't hear you mention that you had to work to pay for college, so your way ahead of the time management game.)
As for the personal stuff - if it ruined your GPA that much - time to take a hard look at what is constructive in your life and what isnt.
Unless you are applying to graduate school, not too many employers want to know your GPA, as much as they want to know that you can balance your life and can follow through on commitments.
I hope you swim but if you don't, I hope you use the time wisely, you will never have it again. Good Luck and God Bless

July 14th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Your college years are just the beginning! Life never gets easier, it just gets better. Decide what is important to you and carve out the time. Your college swimming is definitely worth it.
I too went to CSU Chico (77-82) and swam. While I was nowhere near being a star those experiences were very important in making me the way I am now. I worked very very hard at practice those years and struggled to keep up but my teammates became very close to me. Now I know that I am capable of doing just about anything I want even if it takes hard work, and also I am a very team oriented masters swimmer. I swim on the same team as BillS and I look forward to practice mornings because I enjoy meeting and visiting with everyone on my team, I know that started with my close college teammates.
Go for it!