USA TODAY High School Sports asked some of the top female college athletes from different sports to give their advice to high school girls on a variety of pressures they will face in the coming years. This is the fourth of a nine-part series in conjunction with USA TODAY High School Sports’ Girls Sports Month.
Wednesday, May 7: Recruiting
Thursday, May 8: Parties/social scene
Tuesday, May 14: Homesickness
Thursday, May 16: Relationships/dating
Tuesday, May 21: Classes/homework
Thursday, May 23: The off-season
Tuesday, May 28: Social media
Wednesday, May 29: Lifestyle/nutrition
Thursday, May 30: Most important advice
Advice on relationships …
Katie Reinprecht, senior, Princeton, field hockey
“(My boyfriend) was a senior when I was a junior, so he graduated and then I took a year off to train for the Olympics. So I was living in California and he was living in Canada. He lives in Oklahoma and I’m at Princeton. We have been doing the distance for quite a while. It’s definitely tough.
“Long distance is a little harder for a freshman or a sophomore when you are first coming to college and starting to meet everyone. Once you’ve experienced and gone through the first years of college, you really get to know yourself and what you want. It makes it a little easier to do the long distance.
“(My boyfriend) plays ice hockey. That is really helpful. We are really understanding of each other’s schedules. You each know the demands of playing a high level sport. We understand that each other’s schedules can be pretty crazy and they are subject to change pretty often. It’s nice having someone who understands exactly what you are going through.”
Nicole Gibb, junior, Stanford, tennis
“I was a huge fan of dating athletes before I met this particular person. I honestly never really thought that I could relate that well to a non-athlete. But I was really pleasantly surprised. It’s almost like when you have two athletes in a relationship, someone is always super stressed or is in season or traveling a lot – it has actually really mellowed me out having someone who is not that mobile.
“He’s super busy and is doing a lot of school projects – but the nice thing is he doesn’t have a lifestyle that requires him to travel a ton. So it’s not like we are missing weeks with each other, or alternating traveling or anything like that. It’s been easier in terms of spending more time together.
“If I’m an athlete, and my boyfriend is an athlete and we are both trying to do well in our sport that almost causes some competition that can be difficult to navigate sometimes. I think it adds a layer of complexity when you are chasing similar career paths.”
Caitlin Leverenz, senior, California, swimming
“I didn’t have a boyfriend my first two years of college, and then I started dating a guy who is on the water polo team, and we have been together ever since. Needless to say, if we get to go on a real date once a month we are doing well.
“My boyfriend and I have made a point of finding short periods of time each day that we can spend with each other. Sometimes it’s grabbing lunch between classes, studying together, or just a few minutes on the pool deck between our practices. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, we make a point of seeing each other every day.
“I think there are pros and cons to dating a non-athlete. The pros would be that hopefully he would have more time and a less crazy schedule. But a big con is that it can be hard sometimes for a non-athlete to understand the demands and constraints of a full-time athlete. That’s why dating another athlete is so great – he can really help and support you in achieving high athletic goals and he can really understand what you are going through.”