By: Sara Wanasek – DI Conference Champion – University of Cincinnati
The last meet of my college career ended better than I ever dreamed possible when I started out as a walk-on Freshman at the University of Cincinnati. I not only won my main event, the 1650, but I did it with a personal best time – achieving a team and American Athletic Conference record. Getting to that point, however, took a lot of training and a big change in attitude. In the middle of my last season I was not happy in the water like I used to be. I wasn’t preforming well in the water; losing the sense of accomplishment and happiness I used to have after a tough workout. With my last Conference meet about 2 months away, I realized I could not finish the season with regrets for not doing everything possible to end my career on a high note. A call to Caryn, Sports Hypnotists and Mindset Coach, was needed. I had worked with Caryn in the past, so I reached out. I remember feeling so much better even after just a phone call. My mind was at ease and I could be happy that I was doing everything physically and mentally possible to prepare for the end of the season. My goal the whole season was to go under 16:17 in the mile which would hopefully be fast enough to be in first place. I struggled with admitting to myself that I wanted both of those things, not just the best time, but the win too. I had put in the work in the pool, there was no reason I couldn’t go the time I wanted. The only thing holding me back was my self-doubt. Caryn helped me realize that if I really wanted that to happen then I need to believe in myself and my abilities. My attitude and thoughts shifted to focus on how I wanted my season to end, and what I could do to make it happen. I visualized touching the wall, seeing a 1 by my name, and looking at my team and my parents in the stand. Their excitement would make the moment 100x better. I repeated my affirmation of “I go 16:16 in the mile with a first-place finish” every time I opened my phone. It was easy to remember because I made the passcode my goal time! By the time the mile came around, I wasn’t as nervous as I had been in the past. I was excited and ready to go! I felt like a different swimmer during that race. I had never swum with such confidence before. I remember thinking to myself around lap 11 that I was really going to win this because I was in first by a good amount. I wasn’t going to let anyone pass me then. However, after the race when I told my coach that, he was surprised I felt that way that early into the race. Seeing the splits for everyone in the pool at that time, I was less than a second ahead, not at all what I thought during my race. I attribute my over-confidence at that moment to helping me win because it gave me hope. I learned a valuable lesson during my final swim meet. It is hard and scary to admit your goals to yourself and others for fear that the goals might not get achieved. Beginning to think like a champion was the final piece of the puzzle that I needed to be able to achieve my goals and become a champion!