I knew two definite things since my freshman year of high school: I want to swim collegiately, and I want to study PR. Coming from a nationally recognized swim club, I learned a few things about branding and public relations in sports from a pretty early age. I always loved the aspect of public relations and how vital it is to the image of every club, organization, and company. I loved the process of being able to build a personal brand that is able to reflect all of the hard work and passion put into a sport. To me, the embodiment of a collegiate athlete is someone who represents not just their university, but the community as a whole. Here are some of the top things I’ve learned through swimming competitively for the past decade when it comes to personal branding and sports PR:
1. Good sportsmanship is one of the best things you can practice.
We see it all the time in media where athletes are pitted against each other in a toxic way. Rivalries are some of the best and most exciting things about sports, but no one likes a sore loser. Take a loss in stride and give credit where credit is due.
2. Watch what you post online
Everyone should be conscious about what they post. Ever since I logged into my first social media platform, my parents always grilled me for foolish things I posted. They would always say, “what if your future recruiter saw this?” I think everyone should be asking themselves, “what if my future boss saw this?” Everything truly will come back to bite you.
3. Watch and learn from the best!
Some of my absolute favorite women in sports are Serena Williams, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and Simone Manuel. All of these women are trail blazers in their sports. Last year at a swim meet against Stanford at Texas A&M, I got to witness Katie Ledecky not only go one of the fastest times ever in the mile but beat the Texas A&M men’s school record, (A&M men are pretty dang good, so this is insane). Ledecky always carries herself and represents the U.S. in an incredibly professional matter. Simone Manuel has inspired a new wave of women in athletics with her gold medal winning performance at the Rio Olympics, being the second African American woman to win her event. She uses her platform to generate a conversation of inclusivity. Your platform is the most powerful tool you can have.
- Cassie Kalisz