A Day in the Life: Kelly Zahalka, Day 2

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, January 24. IN the second entry of her "A Day in the Life" series on SwimmingWorldMagazine.com, Navy sophomore Kelly Zahalka writes about some of her possible career paths in the Navy, and where some of her teammates will be stationed after graduations.

She also explains a bit of Navy's dryland training, and offers Tuesday's practice plan.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007, Day 2
While today was physically and academically less intense than yesterday, I still managed to keep busy. Coach Rob Lias, Jr., leads us in track workouts on Tuesday mornings where we split into two groups. One group runs, while the other group PTs (Physically Trains, meaning push-ups, squats, or any other exercise of Rob's choice). Coach Rob gives us times that the entire group must make for 400s and 800s around the track. If someone misses, that group runs again until everyone makes the time. When everyone makes it, the groups switch. In the beginning of the season, we were still learning to work together, and the track workouts were extremely tough. Now that we have grown as a team, we have learned how to ensure that we all cross the line in time. I really enjoy the track workouts because they provide a little relief from swimming and challenge us together as a team.

I had EE (pronounced "double-e", meaning Electrical Engineering) lab this morning. EE is a class required for all Midshipmen regardless of major. Classes such as EE make it possible for every Midshipman to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree even if he or she is majoring in History or English. After that two-hour lab period, I went on to two hours of Strengths of Materials, a class required for my Mechanical Engineering major. I spent the rest of the day until practice going back and forth between the Hall (our dormitory which houses all 4,000 Mids under one roof) and the academic buildings for various meetings concerning my summer training and classes for next semester.

Every summer, we are required to complete specific military training for 2/3 of the summer with the remaining 1/3 spent on leave (break). We use summer training to help narrow down our preferences for what we want to do when we graduate. As a female, I have several options: Marine Corps Officer (ground unit, pilot, or flight officer), Surface Warfare Officer (nuclear or regular), Explosive Ordinance Disposal Officer (EOD), Navy Pilot, and Naval Flight Officer. Dive School would prepare me to enter the EOD Community, but I am still waiting to hear the results of the screener. We have three Firsties (Seniors) on our team, two of whom are going to be Surface Warfare Officers and one of whom, Hollace Mulliken, is going to be an EOD Officer. The SWO's will be picking their ships a week after Patriot League Championships, so they have much to look forward to in the upcoming month! Julie Holland hopes to be stationed in Japan, while our captain, Aubra Thomas, is leaning towards San Diego. We are all so excited for our Firsties to graduate and enter the Fleet!

This afternoon's workout was endurance-based for me. I like being a 400 IMer and 200 Flyer because I get to bounce around between several training groups. I'm still working on convincing Coach [John] Morrison that I should swim some sprint workouts, but I doubt that will happen any time soon! I swam with the distance girls today. Our practice focused on the mile. We don't swim the mile during our dual meet season, so we devote extra time to race strategy and race specific pacing before Patriots to get our minds and bodies ready.

Our practice this afternoon was as follows:

Warm-Up (all together):
100 free, from the blocks
100 back (50 drill/50 swim)
300 kick (1st 25 of each 100 underwater)
100 fly (50 drill/50 swim)
200 free, from the blocks
3x{ 4×75 free, pull no paddles 2@1:00, 2@1:15
{ 200 no free, pull with paddles @3:30

Main Set (distance):
1000 pull @13:20
5×100 cruise @1:20
6×200 descend @2:35
3×100 @1:15
1000 pull @12:30
5×100 @1:20, 1:15, 1:10, 1:25, 1:05

200 easy

1×200 all out, broken :10 75/50/50/25


In the main set we focused on racing the last 500 of each 1500. I enjoy sets where I can stretch out my stroke and really get into a good rhythm. They help me clear my mind from everything that goes on outside the pool so that when I get to the focus points, I am concentrating fully on swimming.

My day winded down with a trip to Steerage, a small café in the Hall, with Jennie Spencer and Darby Driscoll, two of my teammates.

Until tomorrow, Go Navy!


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