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Sierra L

Fruita Monument girls swim team and their intense training

February 5, 2020

The Fruita Monument girls’ swim team is diving head first into the season and are hard at work, training relentlessly this cold winter season.

 Second year sophomore swimmers, Ellie Dehart, and Taylor Wall, provide some insight on the inside details of the team. 

Practice times are  6:30-9:30 pm Monday through Friday at CMU, and  Tuesdays at the Rec center at 5:30. Thursdays are early morning practices when the girls have to go from 5:30 to 7:15 am in the morning, many girls tend to like this because practice is done for the day, and leaves time for homework. But it means wake up times are around 4:15 to 4:30 am. Dehart tells us  just how tough the season is proving to be. She describes the practices as being very difficult and much harder than the meets. “It’s just a ton of conditioning, and we have Hell week,” . 

Wall, who can’t get enough of the water tells us “It’s an exciting break from my club team.” 

Everyday is different in the pool, depending on what the coaches think needs work, so practices range in level of difficulty. But almost everyday is started off with a kick set or a breath control set before a main set. After this, the girls are split up into groups depending on what they swim in meets, so they can practice and prepare for their specific events at swim meets.  Wall tells us one set she remembered was “I had to swim four 700’s at varying speeds to practice my pacing for the 500 free event.”

 So with the sleep still in their eyes, and their suits still damp from last night’s practice, they hop into the jolting cold pool, muscles forced to move by the sheer temperature of the water. These first weeks of the season are said to be really hard up until the last two weeks until we taper” says Dehart. This is when practices become easier and the long distances they are swimming becomes shorter and faster. The plan is put in place to push the girls to their max, training them with speed and endurance, so that the last couple weeks, they can push the rest, the recovery and the speed, just in time for regionals and state competitions. 

There is still some controversy on whether the double practice days and early mornings are beneficial or not. Points can be made on either side really, whether it’s teaching time management skills, getting the body warmed up for practice the following night, or maybe it’s improved physical and mental toughness. But there is also the cons. Two practices a day leaves less time to be spent doing homework, and less time for leisure, showering, eating dinner/snacks, getting ready for bed/the following day, and of course sleeping. Double days also inevitably leave less time for recovery, not to mention the amount of energy used just to get through school, two swim practices, and the boatload of homework students have to do. “It really just drains your whole entire day,” said Dehart. On the idea of benefit, Ellie says the morning practices are not the key, even though some of the other girls find it helpful and “Mentally better.” She finds it mentally worse. Training is different for every girl, and what helps one girl may not work for another, and that is part of figuring out what works for you and sticking to it.

On the other hand, Wall seems to like the double days and morning practices. She says that even though the practices are hard, it “prepares me better for future meets and gives the entire team a boost in stamina and preparedness for future meets.” Which makes sense, early mornings, cold pools, and lactic muscles are part of the process, and can only help the girls get ready for upcoming meets. 

So how do they manage? Swimmers tell us the secret is in how well you can manage your time. Ellie’s strategy is to find a  study hall, and of course to get right into homework as soon as you get home. Taylor finds it easier to get most work done during school, and on the weekends, before and after meets. But don’t worry, sure it is very mentally, and physically  tough, but it is also very rewarding, especially progressing throughout the season, seeing times slowly decrease, and of course finding new friends and seeing new relationships emerge as you share a common struggle and goal. So seeing as there are 9 meets, there is a ton of time to progress and meet new people. 

For more info visit:

https://swimswam.com/the-case-for-and-against-early-morning-practices/

https://coachrickswimming.com/2014/09/20/teens-sleep-deprivation-and-morning-swim-practices-revisited/

 

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