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Profiles of coaches and student athletes

Student-Athlete Profile: Alison Coogan '15

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why did you decide to come to Carleton?

Carleton offered me the balance between academics and swimming that I was looking for. Both Andy and Brooke emphasized that academics come first, but did not lessen the importance of commitment to swimming. Carleton seemed full of people interested in a broad range of topics and dedicated to school, but without a competitive atmosphere. 

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

First of all, college training has been much more effective for me. The season is 19 weeks long, rather than 9 in high school, which allows for much better training. Also, there is a much greater sense of team at Carleton than my high school. We all support each other and are genuinely excited to watch others achieve their goals.  

How do you balance academics, sports, and other activities?

Time management is one of the most important skills I've learned. Classes are challenging and practices can get tiring, but nothing is unmanageable. Swimming helps me to maintain focus and recharge before getting back to work. 

What is a regular day like for you during your season?

We have morning practice three times per week, usually followed by a team breakfast in the dining hall. Then I head to class and attempt to get some work done until afternoon practice. As I science major, I generally have lab once a week, which can interfere with practice. When I have lab, I go to practice as soon as I'm finished and do as much of the practice as I can. After practice, the team heads to Burton (one of the dining halls) for dinner. If you follow the scent of chlorine, you'll find the swimmers at our table. After dinner, I walk over to the library to do more work, usually with a couple team members. 

What are some of your favorite moments from being on the women's swimming and diving team at Carleton?

Championship meets are definitely a highlight of the season. Not only seeing the results of your own hard work, but also seeing your teammates succeed is a ton of fun! The atmosphere at MIACs is different than any other meet I'd competed at before coming to Carleton. I'd never been at a meet where so many people lost their voices! 

What is your favorite thing about Carleton?

My favorite thing at Carleton is the transition between the seriousness of the academics and the fun of Carleton life. Everyone here works hard but we tend not to take ourselves too seriously. Carleton students have lots of crazy traditions, such as the silent dance party. 

What would you say to a high school student-athlete considering Carleton?

As a student-athlete at Carleton, you're going to have to work hard. Both athletics and academics are challenging, but you'll gain an amazing support system. Professors and coaches are always there to help. The team is full of upperclassmen who have been in your place and give great advice! I've taken advantage of that numerous times. Your team will become part of your "college family". The swim team has become one of the most important aspects of my life at Carleton, and I wouldn't change a thing!