The Joys of Division III Contest
Middle School Swimming: The Joys of Division III Competition
By Annika Hobson, Intern at Swimming World College
As a proud NCAA Division III swimmer, I can attest to the immense joy Division III swimming can bring. College swimming offers many opportunities such as traveling, making new friends, bonding, and excelling in the sport you love.
Sportsmanship and camaraderie
Due to the nature of Division III schools which tend to be smaller colleges, D-III conferences are close-knit and full of fast-paced races. In any division, swimmers routinely swim against the same schools in their divisions in dual meets and championships. By continuously swimming against the same teams, a bond is created between the competitors. You learn how your competitors run and shake hands after a tough run. Having a friendly competitor always makes swimming fun.
Focus on academics
For many Division III swimmers, college swimming is an incredible addition to their college experience with their academics front and center. With no opportunity for scholarships within the division, many swimmers swim purely for the love of the sport. At a Division III college, student-athletes can follow many different academic paths and conduct external academic projects such as research in a lab or writing a thesis. For all college student athletes, academics and swimming are at the forefront of their time. By swimming in a D-III college, you can have great swimming and academic careers.
Ability to travel
College swimming offers many wonderful opportunities for creating lasting memories. From trips with your team, to dual meets, to big meets, college swimming allows you to travel and discover new areas. Unlike many students, student-athletes have the ability to see their college surroundings as they move around their conference.
A team to accompany you constantly
By joining a swim team, a student-athlete gets a great support system from their teammates. Their teammates understand their busy schedules, their dedication to the sport they love, and their commitment. Teams help each other in and out of the pool. Cheering on each other by the pool or sitting with each other in the library to finish school, teammates care deeply about each other. While these support systems exist in every swim program, you can see the support beaming from Division III teams, laughing and having fun while swimming fast.
Another excellent quality of Division III swimming is the ability to participate in many activities that interest you. Swimming teaches athletes many things, but some of the most important include dedication, perseverance, and time management. All the traits a swimmer acquires through their sport help their daily life and other interests. As a D-III swimmer, you have a bit more time to chase a lot of things. From internships and clubs to hobbies and jobs, Division III swimmers can fill their “free time” with a few extra extracurricular activities.
As NCAA Division III programs ramp up, student-athletes continue to swim and study hard. With championship season fast approaching, be sure to check out some of the Division III conference fixtures and NCAA Division III championships.
All comments are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine or its staff.