Diving Deep into a Caltech Athlete's Life: Featuring Sam Small

Caltech is known for its rigorous academic environment, but beneath the surface lies a community of student-athletes who defy the odds daily, balancing their passion for their sport with the demands of academic life. One such athlete is Sam Small, a junior BioE major, minoring in Chemistry. His journey provides an enlightening perspective on what it’s like to be a student-athlete at Caltech.

Waking up at 6:30 am, Sam’s day begins with a morning lift in the gym from 7 to 8:30 am. Refueling quickly with a coffee and snack, he goes off to his 9 am lab meeting. As a BioE major, Sam’s academic plate is just as full as his athletic one. After his lab meeting, he makes some time for studying and lunch before attending his 1 pm to 2:30 pm class.

Sam’s commitment to swimming is evident. Not only does he along with the other swimmers practice every day from Monday to Saturday, but they also attend two morning gym sessions a week. These practices and sessions build both their physical abilities and their bond with the team – a close-knit group that feels like family.

Sam’s athletic journey impacts his social life too. The swim team, for him, allows him to be part of a community with shared goals and aspirations. This unified team provides companionship, mutual support, and lasting memories. On the other hand, there are trade-offs. The dedication to his sport occasionally keeps him and other swimmers from joining certain activities, like house ski or beach trips, especially during the season. Yet, for Sam, the personal growth and team victories make it all worthwhile.

Post-practice, Sam grabs dinner and then shifts his focus back to academics. His evenings often involve working as a TA for a lab class from 7 to 10 pm. Despite the long day, Sam’s dedication to both his studies and sport is clear.

Through the eyes of Sam Small, we’re granted a glimpse into the demanding yet rewarding world of a Caltech athlete. His story shows the commitment that defines Caltech’s athletic community. Whether it’s the support of a team that feels like family or the relentless pursuit of academic and athletic excellence, student-athletes like Sam show the spirit of Caltech.