Retired Athlete of the Week: Alexa Specht ‘22

Alexa Specht is a senior from Granville, OH, and was a distance swimmer for the women’s swim team. She enjoys swimming the 400 IM and fly, and recorded a personal best this season in the 200 back. Specht was named a member of the Centennial Honor Roll in 2020 and 2021. She has swum competitively since age seven, minus a break for COVID, and recently retired. 

Bess Levin Markel: What attracted you to the Swarthmore swim program, and what impacted your decision to retire?

Alexa Specht: What attracted me to the program was that the coaches and the team think really hard about all the things we do, both swimming and otherwise. [I decided to retire because] I really felt that I had given all I had to the sport, and I thought it was time to step aside and let some other people take the helm.

BLM: What are your personal goals for retirement? What are you excited about?

AS: Oh, I’m so excited. I’ve been living it up as a gardener for Swarthmore College. That has been lovely. My goal is to just try as many new things as I can and have fun.

BLM: Is there anything you’re glad to be done with?

AS: I’m so glad I never have to put on a kneeskin again.

BLM: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your time being retired?

AS: The most important lesson I’ve learned is that if I don’t work out, I’m very stiff. I don’t know how non-athletes do it.

BLM: What’s been your favorite moment of retirement thus far?

AS: My favorite moment has been going to the Crumb Cafe on a Friday night and not having to get up early for a swim meet afterwards. That has been very exciting.

BLM: Do you swim recreationally now that you’re retired or do you need a break?

AS: I’m taking a break; I would like to let myself get slow again so that I can build myself back up because it’s more fun to see progress.

BLM: Will you be a spectator of your sport going forward?

AS: I will be an avid spectator of the Swarthmore swim team, but I have never and will probably continue to not pay attention to any other swimming other than the Olympics.

BLM: What’s your favorite Sharples bar?

AS: My favorite is a hot take, but it’s tortilla soup.

BLM: Any advice for athletes who are thinking about their own retirement or are planning to retire next year?

AS: Well, I recently went to a panel that was for life after athletics, and what they said was to give it all and to do [everything you want to do] for the team before you retire, and I thought that sounded nice. 

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