By Owen Yancher,
Choosing a college to attend is not a choice that student athletes make overnight.
“I took nine college visits before I knew exactly where I wanted to go,” senior Alex Rieger said.
Rieger, who swims for Davis High, committed to swim for Georgia Tech University on college signing day along with a handful of other DHS athletes.
“The main thing I was looking for during my visits was a school with both a really strong swimming program and outstanding academics. Georgia Tech had both of those along with very good academic support for athletes,” Rieger said.
Senior Matt Whittle, another swimmer, committed to UC Berkeley after visiting five universities with some of the nation’s top swimming programs.
“The biggest thing I was looking for at my visits was how the team interacted with each other and how I felt when I was with the team. The schools I liked the most made me feel like I was a part of the team as soon as I walked on campus,” Whittle said.
Another factor both athletes considered before making their choices was the change in lifestyle they would have to adjust to depending on the college they chose to attend.
“Growing up a Cal fan and being so close, I knew the Cal campus better than some students that were already attending. Auburn ended up being my number two college choice because I really loved the idea of getting out of California and seeing how people lived elsewhere,” Whittle said.
Rieger had to think through this important decision of his future.
“I wasn’t sure whether or not the southern lifestyle would fit for me. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was going to fit in best at GT,” Rieger said.
For both swimmers, facilities and coaching staff didn’t seem to make that much of a difference on their decisions.
“I wasn’t too worried about coaches because all of the schools I visited had great coaches that have had athletes win Olympic medals and I wasn’t really worried about facilities or new fancy equipment because as long as the coaches individualize it for each athlete, it doesn’t make that much of a difference,” Whittle said.