In coming to Carnegie Mellon, I knew that swimming would be a supplement to my role as full-time student. I had no idea that the sport and the athletics department would have become such a strong influence on the success of my college experience in and out of the pool. Being a swimmer a majority of my life, I knew that swimming was something I sincerely wanted to be a part of my college career as well, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to integrate it into my experience.
Being a student-athlete is unlike anything else, especially at Carnegie Mellon. Only other student athletes know what it is like to balance rigorous academics with a very demanding season and still manage to be involved in countless other on campus activities and extra-curriculars. The dedication and love for the sport is what keeps us at practice, working hard each and every day and it is truly inspiring. In my four years here, I have had the opportunity to work with all types of athletes through the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and the lessons learned through interacting with them and the lasting friendships I have built are both things that will continue long after I graduate in May.
Needless to say, moving 3,000 miles away from home for college was quite the daunting experience. The swim team provided a ‘home-away-from-home’ and the seniors on the team were the best support system I could have asked for. Since my first day on campus, the team has been a huge part of my life in Pittsburgh. Many of my most vivid college memories have stemmed from the people and experiences that have resulted from being on the team. Thinking back over the past four years, there have been amazing challenges, setbacks, triumphs and achievements, all of which have taught me valuable pieces of advice that I would never have experienced otherwise. This team has supported me in ways I did not know was possible and often believed in me when I did not think I was capable. The support and love I received during a season ending shoulder injury in my junior year was unparalleled and changed the way I was able to accept this traumatizing event. At this point in my career, it was clear that the team was supporting me and I knew that I would do anything in my power to support them in return.
The amazing part of this team was that I learned to measure my successes not only by my personal performance in the pool, but by the team’s successes and dedication to the sport. The countless 5:00 am alarms, Saturdays spent at swim meets and extremely difficult training trips, we all knew we put our all into the sport regardless of the outcome. And at the end of the season, we were a team. With swimming being an individual sport, I would have never expected that I would learn such a lesson from this team and for that I am forever grateful. My college experience was strengthened significantly through the team environment and leadership opportunities swimming provided and the adventure that was college swimming is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.