Amanda (Smith) Melnick
While you may think your sport is your whole identity, it is not! You are you(more than just an athlete), so try to explore that a bit more. I took my sport very seriously, but almost too seriously. I didn’t know who I was outside of swimming or I thought I was just “Amanda the swimmer.” Because of that mindset, I did not let myself have a lot of fun and relax! And sometimes being an athlete just like a bore/chore, and so many days I dreaded going to practice and thoughts about quitting a lot. I look back and can’t believe I wasted that brain energy because I couldn’t cut myself some slack here and there. Being an athlete is truly the best years of your life, so try to relax, soak in all those moments with your teammates and coaches, and not take yourself so seriously. I found that my most successful races where the ones I didn’t put the pressure on myself or take so seriously. And now in my “adult life” I find I do the best in interviews or with friends in that same mindset; where I just relax, enjoy the moment and have fun. I’d do anything to go back to some of my biggest moments I took too seriously and redo them with this knowledge I gained post-career!