The Keene State College Swim and Dive team is in mid season and already has multiple victories under their belt. The work that goes into each practice and meet can be easily forgotten about, but it is that work that causes such great success for the KSC Owls. Members of the Swim and Dive team gave a little insight to the work that goes into every ounce of success.
Sophomore Kyle Shadeck said that it is all about the work in practice leading up to the meet. Shadeck said, “When I know I have trained hard, it helps give me confidence that I will perform well.” The drills that each athlete focuses on during practice are also key to individual success, Shadeck added. “As a team, our biggest focus is the underwater dolphin kick outs off each turn. Each practice we take the time to work on our kick and our lung capacity so that we are fast off our turns,” Shadeck said. Being able to dedicate yourself to the entirety of the season can be difficult due to how much time is takes up, but Shadeck said mental strength is key. “Personally I would say the hardest part of the sport is staying mentally tough throughout the year. It can be a very long season, lasting up to six months with up to 13 workouts a week, so the season and wind up being mentally draining in addition to physically draining,” Shadeck said.
Junior Lauren Arsenault said that mentally preparing yourself for meets can at times be difficult, and often that preparation comes from the level of competition that you’re facing.
Arsenault said she tried to be confident in the pool and remind herself how hard she works each day to achieve those goals.
“I think about the little things I need to focus on such as breath control, strong breakouts, turns, and my stroke. Then I just tell myself to go in and leave it all in the pool,” Arsenault said.
Physically preparing for a meet occurs on a daily basis, Arsenault said.
“Each day we go into practice and have to push past our limits. When we are in the pool or weight room we have to constantly push ourselves,” Arsenault added.
Outside of the pool, each person has to be aware of the foods they are eating and the amount of sleep we are getting; all of these things affect our physical readiness for a meet, Arsenault said.
In practice, Arsenault said the team goes through the motions with swimming laps and learning how to push past the fatigue and pain.
Just like Shadeck, Arsenault believes that the hardest aspect of the sport is being mentally tough.
“With any sport, being physically tough is extremely important, but with swimming, mental toughness is a huge part of it,” Arsenault said.
Sophomore Sydney McGough said that she likes to visualize her swims before the meet.
McGough said, “Our team has a relatively rigorous practice schedule. As a mid-distance swimmer, I have nine swim practices a week and three lift sessions.”
With so much time going into each and every week, McGough said that it’s important to focusing on improving personal skills and being smart about time management.
“I think the hardest part is how much time we dedicate to the sport. I would never trade it for the world, but there is a huge time commitment that comes with being on the team,” McGough said.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org