Feb. 11, 2009
FRESNO, Calif. - Most college bound freshmen get their first glimpse at freedom away from home in new, often unfamiliar surroundings and places. However that is not the case for Fresno State freshman swimmer Sara Blake, who made the jump from high school to college staying in the very place she had spent the last four years, on the campus of Fresno State.
For Blake, the campus of Fresno State had been home for all four years of high school. As an alumnus of University High School, a public high school chartered through Fresno Unified School District on the Fresno State campus, Blake was given the opportunity to concentrate her academic focuses in a college prepatory environment on a college campus.
"Having my high school campus within the Fresno State campus was pretty cool," said Blake. "Students were allowed to use the Student Union and other facilities."
Blake says she has reaped the benefits of being on a college campus before actually attending college and gained not only experience but the chance to get ahead in many ways.
"I got a very good feel for the college system," said Blake. "I was able to get ahead on general education requirements. The high school also required we take electives, core classes, two years of Latin and four years of musicianship. It definitely made my transition from high school to college much easier."
But there is one experience Blake didn't get to encounter in her years at University High School: athletics, and the chance to compete as a swimmer.
"Organized sports were just getting going at the end of my senior year," said Blake. "I was able to practice and continue to swim with the Raisin Country Aquatics."
Now living the college life, Blake is one of five freshmen to be part of the reinstated Division I swimming and diving team at the University.
"My goal was originally to make the team," said Blake. "Now my goals are to get faster and faster each race, beating my own times."
Today, Blake is a part of the Bulldog family, travelling and competing with the team while continuing her education. She will compete in her first conference meet at the WAC Championships in San Antonio, Texas in late February.
"I've loved getting to know the team," said Blake. "We've grown into this weird, fun, little family and we all have something interesting and cool to offer."
Although she describes her time in high school as a solid preparation for college, she gives simple, straight-forward advice for college freshmen who choose to become student-athletes to better balance the demands of athletics and academics.
"Be prepared to work harder than you ever have in your life and have a blast doing it," said Blake.
"Join the State - Fresno State" -The Fresno State diving team will face-off against Fresno Pacific for a Valentine's Day dive meet at Sunnyside High School at noon on Feb. 14. Both teams will compete in the WAC Championships Feb. 25-28 in San Antonio, Texas.