Atlantic 10 Swimming Stays Focused For Homestretch

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By Kelsey Lynch, Swimming World College Intern

KINGSTON – How does Atlantic 10 swimming push through these last weeks of its demanding training schedules without losing sight of what’s so close ahead? There’s less than two months left of the season for the A-10 Conference, and swimmers know this is the most difficult time of the year. Training trips are steps ahead, and after that it’s just one month out from Championships at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

Every day and often twice per day, swimmers face relentless workouts that drain them of every last bit of energy they thought they had. So figuring out what one must do as a Division 1 swimmer on the homestretch toward championships is quite challenging. A few A-10 swimmers shared their tactics this time of year to ensure that success is their only option in Ohio.

A Common Theme

Atlantic 10 swimmers divulged their personal methods for how they endure the exhausting weeks leading up to A-10s. The common theme was not “staying positive” or “having confidence” as one might presume. While these are essential to the equation, it’s something else that keeps these swimmers floating.

The shared theme among A-10 competitors? Team pride, support and friendship are what swimmers rely on to survive the upcoming mental and physical exhaustion during training trips and beyond. Tanja Kirmse, a sophomore at St. Bonaventure University says, “I think the most important thing is that everyone sees themselves as part of the team.”

“Once I’m at my training trip with my team, they motivate me. It’s great to look around and see how hard other people are working,” says Angie Healy, a junior for Davidson College.

Luke Boliek, a sophomore from Davidson says, “We are all very supportive of each other when it comes to the training trip.” He admits living together for 10 days is what brings them together. “We are all really positive and supportive, we try to cut out any negativity when this time starts.”

Being a part of team makes that exhaustion tolerable because a swimmer can look around during a particularly demanding workout and see that there are others around them who are also pushing themselves to their limits—and further. Teammates have one another’s backs; when everyone on the team knows this, great things can happen.

Healy also says how great it is that they are able to inspire one another. “That’s my favorite part about being on a team—they keep me motivated to keep trying my hardest and working toward out goals,” she says. Keeping in mind that you can only achieve your goals if you are invested in your team’s goals as well.

Hannah Homans, a freshman from the University of Rhode Island says, “It’s nice to know that my teammates and I are all suffering together and it makes it much easier to keep myself motivated if I know that they’re there to back me up and support me just as I would for them.” This is undoubtedly a time of year that the support and encouragement of teammates is extremely crucial.

Sarah Keshishian, a senior from Rhode Island says, “I like focusing on one practice at a time and getting excited with my teammates to compete every day.”

The physical exhaustion is indescribable. Two swim practices per day plus dry land training are next on the agenda for training trip-bound A-10 swimmers. But they’ll be fine. They know as long as they recognize the irreplaceable support of their teammates, everything will be alright.

Teams do various activities to keep the training exciting and stimulating, especially during their training trips. Kirmse says that St. Bonaventure Swimming does different team challenges both in and out of the pool. She says this “makes practices more interesting and fun along with helping with team bonding.”

Teams want to end their seasons with a bang at A-10 Championships, and Kirmse knows that the only way to do this is to know that, “We all are in this together and we know that when we get to A-10s, we as an entire team have put in the hard work and effort to succeed to the best of our ability.”

So when the going gets exceptionally tough the next few months, look around. You’re surrounded by teammates with the same ultimate goal: To succeed at A-10s. But you can’t do this alone, so when you feel like it’s not worth the physical and mental pain, or your coach gave you a set that is way out of your reach, channel the support of your teammates. They’re your supporters when you’re in indescribable pain; appreciate their presence. Your teammates are what make this all worth it.

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Kathleen Power
Kathleen Power
9 years ago

The sisterhood!

Mary von Alt
Mary von Alt
9 years ago

Very interesting read for this layperson!

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