In December, swimmer Caitlin Marshall posted the fastest 200 butterfly time in the NCAA Division III this season. But when the first-year student from Noblesville, Indiana, began looking at colleges, she was determined to prioritize her education over her athletic career. “At first, I wasn’t sure if I would swim. I really wanted a school that was known for its academic rigor,” she says. As a member of NYU’s women’s swimming and diving team and a student at the College of Arts and Science, Caitlin has found a dedicated community that values both learning and sports.
Finding Her Way to the Water
While Caitlin began her athletic career in elementary school, she didn’t start swimming until she was 8 years old. “I started out playing softball, and I was really bad,” she admits. “Then, my mom signed me up for swim lessons because we were going on vacation and she was worried about me being in the ocean.” Caitlin took to the water quickly, joining her middle school’s club team, then the varsity team in high school. When it came time to choose a college, however, she wanted to prioritize academics.
Following the Data
For Caitlin, NYU was a perfect fit—a school that combined rigorous academics with a prime location. Plus, she’d be able to keep swimming. “Swimming is only four years, but the classes you take and what major you choose determine your whole future,” she explains. “Obviously, the opportunity to swim at NYU was something that made the University a top choice, but I wanted to make sure I focused on my future while continuing to do the sport I love.” While she hasn’t declared her major, she’s “enjoying the challenges” of calculus and looks forward to moving on to more data science–centric coursework. Currently, she plans to double-major in Data Science and Mathematics.
Finding the Right Balance
To ensure students on the swim team succeed in their classes, every member maintains a detailed academic planner with their assignments, test dates, finals, and grades, says Trevor Miele, men’s and women’s swimming head coach. Each week, the swimmers review it with Miele to ensure they’re on track. With such a busy schedule, he explains, “It’s important for them to plan out their study time a week or more out. You can’t wait until the last minute to do an assignment or study.” Caitlin agrees, adding, “The coaches make it much easier to balance academics and athletics.” In fact, she’s found her demanding swim schedule has made her a better student. “Having a specific schedule for athletics has helped me do the same for my classes,” she explains.
Leaving Her Mark
Caitlin’s not sure what comes next. But she knows she wants to make a difference—and everyone else has no doubt that she’ll succeed. “Caitlin is awesome,” confirms Miele. “She’s a great person to have on the team, and she’s also smart, funny, and a super hard worker. I look forward to seeing her continue to do amazing things.” Caitlin adds, “There are some swimmers who have graduated, but the swim team still talks about them today. I want to be one of those people—someone who had an impact.”