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December 17, 2018

My Life as a Boston University Swimmer

Save to my locker
Photo by GoTierries.com Jim Pierce

Life as a Boston University student-athlete can be quite unorthodox compared to the lives of athletes at other colleges. The reason I say this is because Boston University doesn’t have a traditional campus like most colleges; instead, BU’s many features are woven into the city of Boston, with most buildings being located on or near a main road. Now that I’ve given you that information, it’s time for a wake-up call.

Surprise! It’s 5:38 AM, the time of day when my alarm goes off three times a week. Usually to someone that isn’t a morning person (hint: that’s me) that would be pretty unbearable on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, but below is the picture of my view from one of the schools study areas, which makes it all worth it.

Friends and family tell me pretty often that this is the most beautiful view that I may ever have, and it’s pretty hard to argue with that unless I become Bill Gates. However, I don’t have that long to look out the window, as I have a morning swim in 20 minutes. Thankfully, the pool is located in the building next door to my on-campus apartment, so walking there is a breeze.

After an hour of swimming, we move a block over to one of BU’s three strength and condition facilities for an hour of lifting. If there is heavy lifting going on that day, you better believe that our team is screaming like banshees motivating our teammates to push through. In general, the coaches love when people put positive energy towards their teammates, and they know that the reinforcement will make us work our hardest and be the best athletes that we can be.

Next on the agenda comes a yummy breakfast at our West Campus dining hall. Since the entire team lives on the western part of campus, there’s always a mob of us that shows up at the same time. The rule of thumb is that whatever time of day you enter the dining hall, there will usually be a big group of athletes gathered there eating, so you generally never eat by yourself. On mornings like today, we all show up to breakfast at the same time, which makes for some pretty awesome memories. For example, one morning one of my teammates finished an omelet with every topping added in 30 seconds. Never in my lifetime have I seen another human being eat that fast.

After a hearty breakfast, it’s time to head to class. Class can usually be anywhere from 9-3 in order to conform to the practice schedule, but it varies depending on how you make your schedule. For context, last semester I had class only four days per week, as I had no scheduled Tuesday classes. Class will usually take place along the long stretch of road that is home to most of BU’s colleges (the road also conveniently leads right to Fenway Park and the heart of the city): Commonwealth Avenue. Usually, I’ll take the BU Shuttle or a train to class, depending on how far my classes are, but none of them are more than a mile and a half away.

Somewhere in the middle of that block, I have lunch in one of the East Campus dining halls. During the school week that dining hall rule applies to everyone on campus, so there will generally be a group there with me. Once it hits 3:30, it’s time to get back into the water for a more extensive workout, this one lasting anywhere from 2-2.5 hours. Usually, if it’s somebody’s birthday, they’ll have to sing happy birthday to themselves before we get in, and that will 100% always be followed by somebody saying that it is my birthday, but luckily my coach lets me off the hook most times (except for 1, obviously).

After this workout and a small session in the hot tub our facility has, it’s time to go back to the West Campus dining hall for dinner. This is where most of our tomfoolery takes place; we’ll usually combine meals to make something even better and take pictures of the best ones to use again. My personal favorite out of those has to be the chicken and waffles we made out of chicken burgers and our dining hall’s waffle maker. When that’s all done, it’s time to retire back to the apartment.

Most people have a favorite spot to work, and mine is simply in my apartment at my desk overlooking the “million-dollar-view.” When I’ve done enough, I’ll go into the common room, where myself and the seven other people I live with hang out until I get tired enough to go to bed. This schedule is usually pretty straightforward until the weekend hits, in which case everything is up in the air. We could either have morning practice, a competition, or some other team event, but either way, we always get Sundays off. That time is typically spent either in the heart of Boston or on the center of the couch watching football or movies, but that all depends on how tired we are that day.