It was a very early morning, but the girls swim team was ready to go as the first week of the season started.
The pool at Lakeland Union High School was the site of an early 6 a.m. practice on Wednesday. The main goal was getting the girls in swim shape before their first meet next week.
“Today was a good endurance day of continuous swimming to build up endurance,” assistant coach Robert Garcia explained. “This was more endurance and then we’ll do sprint days.”
The team started with an easy warm-up, swimming down the lanes of the pool, working on whatever stroke they wanted.
The coaches emphasized stroke over speed. The speed will come in time, but for now it was all about getting the right stroke and displaying correct form.
Once practice officially began, the girls worked on different strokes, going up and down the pool. Coaches watched them to make sure they didn’t get lazy and they hit their time limit. After the timer went off, another stroke was worked on.
Going up and down the pool with a set time in mind really helped the team build up their endurance. Since the swims are mainly sprints, getting in swim shape helps build to getting in sprint shape.
The next part of practice was a ladder. The girls started with 150 yards and worked all the way down to 25 yards. A ladder helps progress from one distance to another, building up that endurance, which was the theme of the week.
“We’ll have fun (during the week), we’ll do vertical kicking for 20 minutes. We’ll make them talk or throw a ball back and forth between each other and then we’ll do some dry land,” Garcia said. “We’ll get out of the water, do some push ups, do some sit ups and then dive back in.”
There was no set time as the girls worked on their ladder workouts for a good 20 minutes. Strokes over speed was an emphasis yet again. “Most of the time we’re working on technique. There’s always room for correction in swimming technique,” Garcia said.
After the ladder workouts had all been done, a fun little exercise took place. The girls all went underwater and did a handstand and the one who could stay under the longest won. It was a fun way to transition into the final part of practice.
The team worked a lot on swimming, but none yet on starts. Using all six lanes, the girls all lined up on the diving board and took off like they would for a race and swam the length of the pool.
They repeated this several times as they got ready for next week’s first meet on Aug. 22 at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School.
“It’s a fun meet and a baseline so you know where the girls are,” Garcia said.
The girls had built up some endurance with good sprints down the pool and a few repetitions of muscle memory. Practice ended with a little cool down of swimming and chatting.
It was a great practice on an early summer morning. The girls returned later that day for an evening practice.
“Tonight we’re going in the weight room, just continuing moving from machine to machine. That’s part of our training for swimming. Tonight is a sprint night,” Garcia said.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]