Want to share this video about college swimming

This video came across my YT feed this morning. Not sure if it’s made the rounds here, but definitely worth watching if you (or your son/daughter) are contemplating D1 swimming (or also other sport as well).


Thank you for sharing. I think this guy makes some valid points. Too bad this isn’t shown to parents of some little kids; you know, the ones who push their kids in the hope of getting college scholarships, and whose kids (and oftentimes families) lead very unbalanced lives. My perspective is that I was a D1 athlete, and multiple of my family members were/are. Here’s my thoughts:

  • you have to play for the love of the sport, rather than expectations about the future

  • when you go to college, you need to go to an academic fit. Just because you can get recruited to a harder academic school (aka more prestigious) than you would otherwise get into doesn’t mean you should go. If it’s not an academic fit, you are going to be miserable, and you might not be able to handle a more difficult major.

  • for some sports, the comment that you have to train during the summer and this can negatively impact your ability to get internships can absolutely be true. Everyone in my sphere ended up going to grad school to move their career forward.

  • look carefully at the different college’s programs, because different college’s can have different scheduling requirements. I thought that this swimmer’s schedule was accurate for a lot of sports. Also very importantly, find out if both the administration and the professors support sports. One of my nephews went to a school where the Profs were proud that it was an “academics first” school, and gave no (or almost no) accommodations in terms of ability to take tests at a different time, attendance, etc. Other schools were much more accommodating/supportive, and just cared that the work was eventually done

  • recognize that at some schools, certain programs will feel as if you are there to play the sport, rather than there to get an education. If you choose to go to one of those schools, what’s your game plan for after college? (Hopefully you will be on full scholarship so you can go to grad school to get your education).


Thanks a ton for adding those insights. I was a D1 athlete (walk on - I joined strictly for the social connection) at an Ivy many years ago. Things have changed so much.

I left the team after an injury and then I settled on a club sport to join. The club team I got involved with was also a big time commitment – while we were training less we were always doing stuff and had to take care of all the administrative planning. I don’t even think our coach was getting paid – I don’t know for sure but eventually a few months after I joined he was replaced by a grad student who definitely wasn’t getting paid.

I would say this: at any reasonably big school, even smaller schools, there are “time black holes” everywhere. Athletics can be one… because of the work not the partying. I think it’s a big misconception that college athletes party a lot. There may be some sports that party like it gets portrayed in pop culture / movies, but most of the time that doesn’t just not happen. In my experience it was actively discouraged and, again, just personal experience, nobody on my team had a keg in their room, but the president of the debate team did have one.

We live in an age where networking is everything and “experience” is king. If you have to spend all your “free” time with the same 10, 20, or 30 folks training at the gym/pool/field/track, you are missing out on the opportunity to build relationships and have more real-world / field-of-study specific experiences. The name on at the top of the degree, even “Harvard”, isn’t worth what it used to be. And the words “Bachelor of [Science / Arts / etc.]” are worth just slightly more than chicken scratch.

During covid 2020+ I heard stories of D1 swimmers who were 100% “bubbled” with their team. All meals, all human contact (virtual classes) with the same small group of swimmers in order to minimize the risk of a cancelled season. That’s a little different than what he described in his video, and in some ways I think it’s amplifying the isolation even worse. In my day, sports were something fun you still did in college for the fun of it. Now, as you say, I think a lot of kids do it because it’s a meal + tuition ticket and/or admissions ticket AND that says a lot about how broken and distorted we’ve allowed the cost of attendance as well as the admissions selection process to get.

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