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Profiles of coaches and student athletes

Student-Athlete Profile: Maria Wetzel '17

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why did you decide to come to Carleton?

I chose Carleton because I wanted to attend a liberal arts college with smaller classes and because I am interested in the biology program.

What have been some of the differences between college and high school sports?

I would say the biggest difference between college and high school is the team atmosphere. I swam on my club and high school team simultaneously during the high school season and so although I was a part of two huge teams, the sport remained pretty individual, with the exception of relays. The intimacy found on the Carleton swim team is unmatched. Our team does a great job of combining both the individual and team aspects of this sport and has become my second family.

What are you most looking forward to next season?

I’m most looking forward to continuing to improve next season, individually and as a team. I surprised myself this year in my primary events, which was really exciting, and can’t wait to see what will happen next year. Our team did well at the conference meet this year and I think the relays, especially, next season will help us move up in our conference rankings.

What do you enjoy most about your sport?

I think the thing I enjoy the most about swimming is the racing aspect. During the season we train extremely hard and sometimes its difficult to maintain the focus and determination required in this sport. Racing provides the immediate feedback for how the season is going and what changes need to be made. In college, especially, racing has been a lot more exciting because of the continual team support provided for every swimmer during their races.

How do you maintain a balance between sports and other activities at Carleton? What else are you involved in?

One of the most important things that swimming has taught me has been time management and accountability. While our coaches are flexible if we have an academic conflict and need to adjust our practice schedules, managing your time becomes critical at this school. I plan my week around classes and swim practice and then have to budget my time accordingly. Further, I have found that swimming forces you to hold yourself accountable for how you train during the season. You learn to realize that the effort (or lack thereof) you put in will always appear throughout or by the end of the season.

What are some of your team's traditions?

One of my favorite team traditions is the Halloween practice. The women’s team competes to wear the most eccentric costume and the winner swims in their costume in an event at the upcoming meet. We also eat foods and swim events that represent the previous senior class, which is a really cool way for the team (and especially the new class) to get to know those members that have already graduated. We also have a lot of fun traditions that occur during our training trips, such as the Donut Challenge and cooking class meals. 

What is your favorite thing about Carleton?

As I’m sure many people would also say, my favorite thing about Carleton is the people. I love the welcoming atmosphere of the school and enjoy meeting individuals who come from all over the world and who share a similar commitment to academics and extracurriculars. I think the phrase “work hard, play hard” is extremely applicable to the students here, as everyone has learned to balance their academic endeavors while still enjoying their college experience.