“Why I Quit My Sport After 13 Years”

 

When a toddler begins to go through major physical development, the primary gross motor skill that tends to take precedent is walking. 

 

For me, it was swimming. 

 

From as early as I can remember, I have always loved the water. Some of my most cherished memories from childhood have taken place at the beach or pool, where I would spend hours upon hours splashing around in the sunlight and watching my fingers prune to no end. 

 

I started taking swim lessons in preschool and continued to fall in love with the sport as the years progressed. I began my competitive swimming career when I was eight years old. When I started to compete in meets and noticed my personal records improving, I became giddy. When everything was new and exciting, I was in my happiest state. 

 

In high school, I swam for my school’s team and I was on a club team. Needless to say, my swimming career was in full swing. After the school day was over, I swam. Then, I swam again. Then, I went home. Then, I swam the next day. And all the days after that. My weekends consisted of swim meets. I would arrive at dawn and depart at dusk. 

 

After graduating from high school, I was unsure if I wanted to swim in college. I thoroughly enjoyed the social aspect of swimming. I met my best friends through swim teams. However, I wasn’t sure if I could make a full-time commitment in my collegiate career, as I knew my schedule would be more demanding. 

 

When I first started swimming for the University of Scranton Women’s Team, I had a renewed sense of passion for the sport. I did not know anyone as I began my first year as a student at the University of Scranton. However, when I met my teammates I felt an instant connection. It was a very pivotal time for me, as I was able to come out of my shell and broaden my horizons. At eighteen years old, my focus was on the swim team. However, as the years went on my priorities shifted.

 

I’m unsure of when I came to this realization, but I believe it was during the tail end of my sophomore year. I found that during practices, I was simply going through the motions. I was showing up, in the water, but didn’t feel as though my strokes had intent behind them. For a while I was in denial about this fact.  But looking back, it was the truth. Swimming was no longer something I felt passionate about. 

 

Junior year was a time when I really came into my own. I suddenly found interest in a multitude of other things, none of which were related to swimming. I started to venture out of my comfort zone and participate in things that truly gave me joy. It was in this moment that I realized a major change needed to take place.

 

As a current senior, I am the busiest I have ever been in my whole life. My focus has been primarily on my career objectives and I could not be happier with the path I am on now. The people that have influenced and guided me along the way, I am eternally grateful for. 

 

I will always have a soft spot for Scranton swimming, as being a member of this team was one of the best experiences I could’ve ever asked for. I learned so much about not only the ins and outs of collegiate swimming, but more importantly and prominently, I learned so much about myself as a human being. Being a student athlete has challenged me in ways I never knew possible and looking back, I wouldn’t do anything differently. While it wasn’t an easy decision to make, I eventually found the will to no longer continue my swimming career here at Scranton. 

 

Personally, I cannot go through with anything in my life if I do not 100% believe in it. When my heart isn’t there, I’m mentally no longer there. And even though this mentality is seemingly righteous, it can be hard to bear. However, my mother always told me that you never grow when you stay comfortable. Sticking with something out of habit would have been comfortable, so I decided that I needed a change. 

 

My advice for anyone who is staying stagnant in a particular area of their life, would be take a leap of faith. Just like diving into murky waters can be scary at first, you’ll never know what is found in the depths of the ocean unless you jump.