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The summer between high school graduation and the first semester of college can be a whirlwind of change and new experiences for incoming college freshmen. Aspiring or future college swimmers must take great care to not let those three months slip away from them, however.

Summer training and prepping for the first year of college swimming is crucial for a variety of reasons. Here’s how (and why) college swimmers should take advantage of their last summer break before becoming a collegiate athlete.

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Keep a Workout Regimen to Stay in Shape

After a year of schedules, routines, and training, a fun-filled summer and a break from training can be attractive to a lifelong swimmer. Especially when the daunting college schedule looms on the horizon, a future college swimmer might think a break will be good for them.

Most swimmers know, any time spent away from the water will cost them in the long-run. Even a weekend out of the pool can put a dent in the conditioning swimmers work toward during the week.

So a full three months with no training would be detrimental to a college swimmer’s career. College coaches and future teammates will not want to wait around for a new swimmer to catch up--especially if the teammates spent their summers training hard. A college team will expect its swimmers to jump right in as the school year begins, well-conditioned and in shape.

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Collegiate swim training will likely hold some of the toughest workouts of a swimmer’s career leading up to this point, so incoming freshmen will want to take advantage of the summer months to condition for what’s ahead.

Maintain a Routine

During a time when so many things are new and changing, a swim routine will be as important as ever. A familiar routine will likely help a swimmer not to feel completely overwhelmed by all of the other things in their life that will change in the months leading up to their first year of college. A swim training routine will also help to prevent the shock that would accompany a summer spent out of the pool and the immediate shift to a collegiate swim schedule as soon as the semester begins. The discipline practiced during the summer will help freshman swimmers gradually transition into their college experience.

Seek Competitive Experience

For most college freshmen, their last high school swim meet will have likely been in March. Choosing to not compete until college could mean going as long as seven months without a racing experience. Often times, simply training and working out will not provide adequate experience for a future college swimmer. Meets will give swimmer something specific to work towards and train for during the summer months. The competitive atmosphere will also keep swimmers adjusted and ready for their upcoming college season.

Enjoy Variety

Some swimmers will be recruited to swim specific strokes for their college team. Once the season begins, they may find themselves training exclusively for the sports they will be competing in during the meets. While their workouts most likely won’t only consist of their strong strokes, there will certainly be less time spent improving upon and training for their weaker strokes.

The summer months leading up to college are open for swimmers to train in the strokes of their choosing. The three months of freedom will allow swimmers to have fun with their training--even if they choose to practice their worst stroke, the time spent working on the technique and training will pay off in strength and muscle-building, at the very least.

Last Chance for Memories and Legacy

Finally, the summer before college swimming starts may be the last time a swimmer trains and competes with their club team. Swimmers who participate in club swimming will have likely spent a great deal of their childhood and adolescence with the same swimmers and coaches.

These last three months before college could be the last chance a swimmer has to make an impact on the team they’ve spent so much time with, as well as a final opportunity to give back to that team.

The college swim team will likely be an entirely different experience for swimmers, and they’ll make new friends in their teammates and coaches along the way. However, this last experience with a familiar club team will be a great opportunity for incoming freshman swimmers to have fun with their old friends and enjoy swimming without the pressure to perform they’ll experience in college.

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Ultimately, most swimmers stay in the sport because it’s something they enjoy and are passionate about. The last summer before college is crucial training time for a swimmer’s first college season, but remembering to have fun and to enjoy these final three months before college is just as important!

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