How College Swimmers Can Stay in Shape During Summer Break

120706-F-MQ656-228 JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 6, 2012) Sailors from the Royal New Zealand navy and U.S. Navy dive into the pool to start a 200-meter freestyle relay during a Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) international swim meet. Over one hundred Sailors from multiple nations gathered at Scott Pool to compete in a friendly swim meet and get to know each other prior to the start of the operational portion of RIMPAC 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the worlds oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. (Department of Defense photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth/Released)

How College Swimmers Can Stay in Shape During Summer Break

By Rachel Sansano, Swimming World College Intern

For the majority of college swimmers, the summer is a much-needed break from insanely early mornings and grueling workouts. The only problem is, when we all go back to our typical training schedule in the fall, we are slapped in the face with a brutal realization. So much of our muscle mass and feel for the water has been lost. 

Somewhere in between the summer vacations and job schedules, we need to make time to keep our bodies active. Listed below are five tips to help athletes stay in shape during the summer months. 

New Workouts

After months and months of training, practices can start to get repetitive. Use your summer break as a time to train what you love. For example, if you love ladder sets, incorporate more of them into your workouts. If you don’t train breaststroke as much as you’d like, work that into your sets. 

Monotony stops momentum. This means that we need to have diversity in the workouts we do. During the summer, you have much more say over what sets you swim and what weights you lift. Use this to your advantage. Work on things you enjoy. Summer can be a great time to branch out from what your coach typically writes on the board. That brings me to my next point. 

Cross Training 

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Photo Courtesy: Julia Cunningham

Summer is a great time to try something new. Staring at a black line for hours on end is mentally draining, even for the best of us. This offseason, find a workout outside of the pool that you enjoy. This could be running, HIIT workouts, or even something more outside the box, like kickboxing

Finding a new way to stay in shape will rejuvenate you. Remember, you don’t have to be the best at whatever new activity you decide to pick up. The point is to stay active and keep our muscles moving. 

Goals: Staying Focused 

Spending so much time away from campus makes it much easier for us to lose sight of our goals. Without teammates and coaches holding us accountable, staying on the couch instead of heading to the pool is a trap that many of us fall into. 

One way to help with this is setting goals. Write out two goals you have for the upcoming season and two goals you have for each month of summer. By writing both long-term and short-term goals, you will be able to accomplish much more. The short-term goals give you something that is just within your reach, while the long-term goals keep you focused on the bigger picture. 

Nutrition

Nutrition

Photo Courtesy:

For most student-athletes, nutrition can be difficult while in college. At the cafeteria, our food options are limited. In the dorm, it is all too easy to eat that entire package of cookies while cramming for a test. 

At home, however, it is much easier to eat healthy. Take advantage of this! Nutrition is something that many student-athletes overlook. Change this by finding new, healthy recipes to try. You will be grateful for a break from cafeteria food. 

Off Days

Summer is a time to recharge before heading back to a full schedule of classwork, weight training and swim practices. As student-athletes, we need to take advantage of this time to restart our bodies and our minds. For some of us, this means taking time away from physical activity.

Taking a break is both understandable and necessary. But we need to be careful about when and how we take breaks. Life happens, we know, but try to enforce this simple rule. Never skip two days in a row. 

Taking one day off is a great way to recharge, but when one day turns into two, problems happen. Taking two days off in a row means we start to build a bad habit. From there it only gets easier to take more and more time off. 

These tips are a great start to improving your summer training schedule. It will take time to find a balance between relaxation and working out, but once you do you are set up to do great things. Most importantly, remember to have fun and use these summer months to enjoy time with your family.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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