Thursday, February 20, 2014

Swim in College

The Olympics are all over TV these days and we love watching the best in the world do their thing. At the same time we cannot help but think about the tens of thousands of highly trained and competitive athletes who are not on TV…but may have dreamed of it one day in their private moments.

Most coaches have teams that look the same; several standouts and many valuable members who cannot or will not quite get to the “top”, whatever that may mean. All members of a team who commit to the team and the process are important. Without them, there is actually no team…just a bunch of individuals who gather each day for some exercise. If you have ever been on a “team” you know the difference.

We asked Elisa, who trains with our Senior 1 group, what was the value to her of swimming, her North Bay Aquatics team and what she thought about the possibilities of swimming in college were. When we read her response we figured we are doing a good job…except for that remark about the marbles!!

“Will I continue to swim in college? Yes. It is the level of the participation, however, that I have not yet decided upon. I applied to 16 highly competitive and academically rigorous schools for one reason: I want to have the best opportunities I can get to become the best doctor I can be. I have a series of goals that I hope to fulfill at any university that I attend. For starters, I aim to graduate in the top 5% of my class; whether I end up at Harvard or UCSB, I will see to it that this goal comes to fruition. I also aspire to be involved in scientific research in some sub-field of neurobiology, and I wish to be a part of a team that publishes in a scientific journal as an undergraduate. Achieving these feats would, of course, give me the best possible chance at admission to a top-notch medical school, which is (as you know) what I've been looking forward to since I was twelve years old. Aside from engaging in rigorous academic pursuits, I plan to take full advantage of what my college has to offer: I want to explore intellectual diversity. Nothing helps me to grow more as an individual than does challenging the way that I think. This challenge invariably arises from situations in which I step outside of my comfort zone-- having the chance to meet new people of different ways of thinking is one opportunity that I look forward to most. To do this, however, I'll need to get involved in activities that would best supplement my rigorous pre-med course schedule. I have the intention of joining clubs, of studying abroad, of being at the top of my class. For these reasons, I am unsure that I see varsity sports on my agenda for the future. I have loved swimming and appreciate all that it has offered me over the recent years, which is why I will undoubtedly continue for fitness and camaraderie at the very least.  In high school, I've put many facets of my life on hold in the interest of reaching my full potential in swimming. Second to school, it comprised the majority of my time and efforts. Swimming will not offer me the opportunities that it will lend to some of the more accomplished swimmers on NBA, and I am fully aware of this. I am not relying on it to take me where I want to go, nor am I leaning on it to provide a boost to my application. I swim because I love it, and because it humbles me in ways that are unique to the sport; never in my life have I learned more about resilience than I did on NBA. So I'll continue to swim club at the very least, but I am going to be up front and state that I am not ready or willing to sacrifice opportunities that will help be grow as an individual and a future physician in the name of high-level competition. My decision to swim varsity will altogether depend on where I choose, as a less demanding swim program would be something I'd look into. However, I did apply to a number of D1 schools who would require a time commitment and skill level that I simply don't think I can dedicate. 

Bottom line: D1 is slightly out of the question, I would entertain the thought of D3, and I will definitely do club.

Somebody's going to have to be able to put your brain back together when you start losing your marbles. Don't you think I should focus on that?!”

Thanks Elisa; you made our day!

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