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Profiles of coaches and student athletes

Student-Athlete Profile: Eli Danson '15

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why did you decide to come to Carleton?

I was looking for a school with a bright academic student body that cared about their education and dedicating time to enjoying life. When I toured Carleton, I observed both of those things as I saw plenty of kids studying in the library, and lots of kids outside laying down looking at the sky and throwing Frisbees.  Being a student-athlete, balance is something that has always been something I had to make an effort towards. At Carleton, I knew that everyone here was going to help make the process of balancing my life as natural as possible that was something that was very appealing. In addition, I was looking for a division III school that had a swim team that put education above athletics, yet still demanded 100 % effort and I found that here at Carleton.

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

The biggest difference for me between college and high School sports is the team chemistry. Sports in high school were competitive, yet the team never hung out outside of practice and there wasn’t a lot of encouragement between team members. On the Carleton swim team, we eat dinners together many nights, everyone helps each other during practice, and if there's ever a problem one kid has, they know that they have a group of 40 people willing to listen to them and help them with whatever they need. The other big difference is that high school sports expected that the sport was the first priority on your schedule. At Carleton, the coaches know the busy lives that the students live, so they understand when you have a lab that runs through half of your practice time. Instead of demanding you drop the lab, they just tell you to come when the lab is done and get as much work in as you can in the time remaining.


What are you most looking forward to next season?

This season was my first on the Carleton swim team, and the championship meet was something I had never experienced before. Championship meets in high school were fun and rewarding, but they had nowhere near the electricity that was on the deck at the MIAC championships. This year, I am looking forward to going back to the U of M and competing at the championship meet with all of my amazing teammates.


What do you enjoy most about your sport?

As a person who works hard and was not given the best athletic genes to work with, what I appreciate most about swimming is that you can observe a direct correlation between the work you put in, and the times you have at the end of the season. That thought only further motivates me in practice to try harder so I can be proud of my times by the end of the season.

What else are you involved in?

Besides swimming, I am also in the Carleton orchestra in the first violin section, I am a member of the bowling club, and I enjoy going to Buddhist meditation that is held on campus a couple times a week.  The most time consuming thing at Carleton is the school work, so I make a concerted effort to get half a problem set done between classes instead of spending time on facebook. Swimming is also a huge time commitment, around 2:30-3:00 hours a day, so making the most of all the free time you have is very important. At the same time, relaxation and sleep are very important to mental health, so there are some days where all I do is class, practice, homework, 30 minutes of super smash brothers, and then bed at 1 so I can get 8 hours of sleep.


What are some of your team’s traditions?

My favorite team tradition is the team cheer we do before meets. My high school never did team cheers, and to be honest, I always found team cheers sort of stupid. But once I recognized how it unites the team and how much fun it is to make the pirate arrrrrr sound and put your finger up like Captain Hook when we spell Carleton, it became my favorite thing.


What is your favorite thing about Carleton?

First, and most important, the level of intelligence among all the students is extremely high, and this allows for so many learning opportunities that cannot even be dreamed of in high school. Second, almost every person at Carleton is just a cool person to talk to, to learn where they have studied abroad, what cool hobbies they have, what drives them. Finally, and this is something that one of my best friends came up with while we were throwing a baseball on the mini bald spot, the great thing about Carleton is that it is the place that allows you to be who are, while helping you become the person you want to be.