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2015 Woman of the Year finalist: Margo Geer

The Arizona swimmer reflects on the important lessons she learned in her time as a college athlete

By Margo Geer as told to Jordan Schwartz

Growing up, school was always at the forefront of everything I did: Both of my parents are teachers. I lived an hour away from the pool, so I spent time every day swimming and traveling, but I did schoolwork whenever possible. Because of that, I had a good foundation coming into college and was able to manage my priorities.

The commitment to something bigger than yourself has stuck with me. When things get stressful or challenging and you’re not sure if you will get through it, you can. With academics, putting in the hard work, being able to commit yourself to learning the material and being relentless allow you to reach your goals.

Arizona did a great job helping me balance my busy schedule. I got in contact with really great people like our life skills counselor and my academic adviser. Maintaining those relationships is important and I still keep in touch with them.

I have to give a lot of credit to the coaches. When they recruit us, they definitely know what they are looking for in a student-athlete. They have their priorities in order and they develop us into all-around people.

It was something I dreamed of since I was very little. Reaching the Olympic trials four years ago taught me if you really dedicate yourself to something, you can definitely achieve it. It was disappointing to not make it all the way to the Olympics, but it made me realize how much more I could improve and how much more I could do in the sport. It wasn’t about the end result – it was about the process. This upcoming year, I’m excited to try it again.

I tell swimmers to have as much fun as you can. With all the training, academic responsibilities and volunteering, you can’t let it stress you out. You get an opportunity that not everyone else gets to have.