Matt Bean – Class of 2017
By Jill Snowdon
Division I collegiate swimmer, sophomore business major at a prestigious university, teenager living in the fast-paced environment of the United States capital.
Matt Bean was ripe for advice when he announced his plans to continue his academic and swimming careers at American University midway through his senior year at Wyoming Seminary.
It didn’t take long, however, for the 2017 Sem graduate to realize on his own that life, and ultimately, success, is all about balance.
“I have figured out an important piece of advice and that is in collegiate athletics, you are going to be in the best shape of your life, physically. What comes with this is an incredible amount of work and commitment and it is important to ensure you are in the best shape of your life mentally,” Bean said. “Being mindful of yourself and your mental health, combined with healthy practices, will allow you to be both the best athlete and person possible.”
It’s a mindset that served Bean well in his first season with the Eagles. His time of 51.59 in the 100 backstroke ranks him 12th on American’s top-16 list. At the Patriot League championships, he advanced to the finals in the backstroke and finished 14th. In the 200 backstroke, he took home a third-place finish at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships .
“I found myself as part of an incredible team with great coaches and an incredible support network,” said Bean, a two-time all-state selection at Sem. “And though I am happy with athletic achievements, I am proud of my growth as a teammate and a student.”
Bean entered American’s program with an already strong work ethic thanks to Sem. And, his personal discipline helped him juggle a rigorous new experience as a Division I student-athlete.
He completed his second semester with a 3.9 grade point average, which with his freshman athletic success earned him American University’s Scholar-Athlete Award for April 2018.
“Swimming at Sem provided a great framework as to what the profile of a student-athlete encompasses,” Bean said. “I was able to take my experience from Sem and apply it at a high level in college.”
Even after a remarkable freshman season - in the pool and classroom - Bean remains humble and appreciates the daily, and often exhausting, commitment to being a collegiate athlete.
“I would say that collegiate athletics, regardless of sport, is an incredible privilege. Playing a sport at the Division I level gives you an opportunity to compete and build meaningful relationships with others that share your same passion,” Bean said. “Student-athletes are definitely a special breed of people and I personally think that collegiate athletics helped me better myself as a student.”