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A Day In the Life Of A Varsity Athlete

Hi! I’m a University swimmer for the uOttawa Gee-Gee’s, and I just finished my first year at school where I’m studying Human Kinetics. Passionate and team-centric, I have seen some relative success in the sport. I go, 56.70 for 100 Back SC as well as 2:03.90 and 26.80 for 200 and 50 back SC respectively.  This what a regular Monday in the life of a university swimmer looks like. This is based on the first-semester schedule that I followed every Monday. Hopefully, my insight into the world of varsity swimming through the lens of a swimmer will be interesting and insight into varsity sport culture. 

A Normal Monday

6:30 am - *Alarm rings* I drag myself out of my bed in my dorm room, I quietly put on my sweatpants and hoodie that I laid out the night before and quietly grab my bag sitting on my chair, as to not wake my roommate. I then set off for the cafeteria to get a quick snack before practice.

6:45 am - I head to the swim teams locker room in the sports complex and open up my locker, I keep most of my suits and towels here so they can dry and so I’m not carrying around wet things in my bag all-day. I put my clothes in my locker and head out onto the pool deck for practice.

6:50 am - I try and get on deck at least 10-20 minutes early before every practice so I can do my activation routine and roll and stretch before every practice. At this time my coaches come on deck to talk about the practice that we are about to do and give us a rundown of what is going to be going on for the team this week, if we have a meet or if we have to volunteer at any of the other universities team’s games (this is something we do to help grow GeeGee sports culture on campus). Then our captains give a quick speech which usually involves a lot of clapping and yelling to get us awake before we head over to our lanes.

7:00 am - Monday morning practices are one of our team’s mandatory practices that you have to make, so the pool is busy with all 45 swimmers here. Most of the time only half the team is at practice because of classes or work so we can break up into groups based on your strongest event but since the whole team is here our coaches run one practice for everybody.

9:00 am - Practice is only half over! On Mondays you have to go to one weight session, either after morning practice or before afternoon practice, since I don’t have class right now, I usually do weights to get it over with. First, I eat a banana and a chocolate muffin that I grabbed from the caf when I got breakfast and I head down to the weight room.

10:30 am - Done! So usually anyone that did the morning session of weights heads to the caf to eat and hang out. Until you have a class or need to go study (sometimes we just stay and study in the caf). 

11:30 am - Time for Health on a Global Perspective, which is one of the classes that I have.  This is one of the mandatory classes for all Human Kinetics students so there’s usually 150 at every lecture. So I head out from the caf and go to class.

1:00 pm - All done! Guess where I’m going… back to caf for lunch!

1:30 pm - All the swimmers that are in caf (you can usually find us travelling in hoards where ever we go, no matter if it’s in the library, caf or just hanging out in residence. It’s rare to see one of us alone.) We’re leaving now for practice so we can be early and stretch and do our activation to try and get rid of the lactic acid that has built up from doing weights in the morning. (On a day where I didn’t do weights in the morning, I would have to go right from class to the weight room and only have a little snack, hence why I do my Monday lift in the morning. Food and chocolate milk are really important to me.)

2:00 pm - Time for the second practice of the day, our coach comes on deck and explains what the different groups are going to be doing today, gives a speech, then we hop in the pool for round two. My university has 3 different training groups:

Sprint/Mid Distance: this was my group and was made up of people who swam a 200 and under of a specific stroke and usually didn’t swim any IM events. 

IM/ Distance: this group was for the swimmers who swim any distance event or any IM event.

The Breaststroke group: My team has an abnormal amount of breaststrokers (because our coach was a breaststroker and shows a particular love to anyone who swims this stroke.) So because of that, we have a whole group dedicated to breaststroke instead of putting them in with the Sprint/Mid Distance group.

4:00 pm - Practice is over and guess where we’re going… Back to caf!

5:30 pm - I have a class in Sociology of Sport in Canada, which is my second class of the day.

7:00 pm  - My class is over now, and I hope you can see the pattern that is developing. I’m going back to caf!

8:00 pm - I’m all done dinner and not feeling so tired so I head over to the library to get some work done and study or work on whatever paper I have due soon.

11:00 pm - I’m all done for tonight so I head to caf to get one last little bit of food and head back up to my dorm.

11:30 pm - 12:00 am - I usually watch a couple of youtube videos to unwind then I get ready for bed and go to sleep.

Basically, this is what a typical Monday for a varsity student-athlete would look like. It was one of my busier days since I had 3 practice sessions and 2 classes, all in all, not a bad day. 

See you in the next one :)

-Eli Basler