A day in the life of a Brandeis athlete: Jonathan Ayash ’22

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December 6, 2019

This column will highlight a different student-athlete each week, striving to unearth what the hectic life of a Brandeis athlete entails. With this in mind, such a collection of stories will serve as a testament to the hard work, passion and resilience that athletes at Brandeis specifically embody, hopefully working to bridge the gap between student-athletes and the rest of the Brandeisian community.

At the crack of dawn and up before the rising sun, swimmer Jonathan Ayash ’22 is out the door just a few minutes after waking up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to his 6 a.m. practice. Practices always start in Gosman for dryland workouts for half an hour, followed by a two-hour swim, Ayash told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. 

After his workout, Ayash runs back to Skyline for a change of clothes before he is off to his 9 a.m. class. As a biology and business major on the pre-medical track, classes at all hours of the day are not surprising to Ayash anymore. With all the random breaks throughout his day, he uses this time to study or eat to make sure that no time goes to waste. 

But Ayash did not expect his college career to include swimming. “I wasn’t planning on being a student athlete,” he told The Hoot. “The athlete part came second.” He was told that he may get a chance to swim, but it was not his focus. However, after he got to Brandeis, he was told to come to the first practice and then stayed on the team. “It was a hard transition,” continued Ayash, “I was not used to the swimming life.” Like many other sports, swimming is very time intensive. 

Swimming has especially given Ayash a concrete schedule, he said. “Without swimming, my life would be all too less scheduled.” With practice every day and additional lifts, he needed to learn how to manage his time. 

“Not every weekend has the same amount of time,” he explained. “Some weekends we don’t have meets, but other weekends we’re away all weekend at meets. I need to know how to plan ahead and do all my work on time. I know I can’t leave everything to the last minute because I have to go to bed on time.”

Swimming also gave Ayash an opportunity to have a guaranteed group of friends on campus. “Usually when you see one swimmer, you see a few,” he said. “We spend a lot of time with each other so we’re all together… Everyone is friends with everyone, so you know that you will never eat a meal alone. There’s always someone on campus that’s ready to eat. It’s very much a family environment.” 

With all the time they spend together at practice and meets, Ayash explained that the team is not only super close but also a great resource for academic help. He said there is a good mix of humanities and science majors on the team, so the upperclassmen are supportive and helpful with the underclassmen if they need help in any of their classes. 

At meets, none of his teammates are ever at the sidelines quietly standing there. “Even if you’re not racing, you’re cheering,” Ayash told The Hoot. “You’re making sure that everyone is hyped up and then you get hyped as well.” One of Ayash’s closest friends on the team usually races in the same lane as him, so they hang around each other at meets a lot and cheer each other on. “Being around people is my way of hyping up,” he explained. However despite all the changes and early mornings, for Ayash, being a part of the swimming family at Brandeis is worth it.

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