Swimmers power through rigorous workouts

Swimmers face metnal and physical challenges at practice

Freshman Drew Shellenberger throws a medicine ball to Senior Fritz Laut. Laut and Shellenberger have both contributed a lot of points in big meets.

Melissa Bushong

Freshman Drew Shellenberger throws a medicine ball to Senior Fritz Laut. Laut and Shellenberger have both contributed a lot of points in big meets.

Michael Long, Reporter

Being on a swim team is not just chilling in a cool pool with friends and a foam noodle.
Like any team, swim teams require time and work, especially here at SHS. According to members of the SHS swim team, the practices and workouts they have to go through are tougher than other sports.
“It’s the hardest sport at Southport High School,” junior Jake Hemphill said.
Also, Hemphill and freshmen Drew Shellenberger both say that swimming is an extremely mental sport.
“When you’re swimming, you’re looking at the bottom of the pool for three hours a day, everyday, six days a week, and it’s something you have to keep doing and that’s how you get better,” Hemphill said.
Shellenberger even went as far as to say that 90 percent of swimming is mental tests.
One big mental challenge SHS swimmers have to face is morning practices which take place twice a week. These practices are every Tuesday and Thursday starting at 5:15. That means the swimmers on the team have to wake up around 4:30 or 4:45 to be in the water on time. At the very least, the team gets provided breakfast.
“Waking up that early and getting in the cold pool is awful,” Hemphill said.
Shellenberger, who competes in triathlons, says the mental aspect in swim practices is what sets it apart from his triathlon training.
“Swimming is mental with your physical whereas in a triathlon, if you can do it physically, then you’re fine,” Shellenberger said.
Sophomore Jordan Cox and Hemphill are just two on the team who play other sports as well. Cox plays soccer and Hemphill plays football. Both athletes say that swim practices are harder than the other sports they play.
Swim practices aren’t all about getting distance in the water. Shellenberger explained how some days are sprint days, which are short, high intensity workouts, where they have to run 50 or 100 sprints for time.
“You have to go basically all out for a minute to a minute and a half,” Shellenberger said.
Sophomore Jordan Cox described a similar exercise called test sets. A test set consist of 10 x 100 meter sprints.
“It’s on a really short interval so it’s just consistent sprinting,” Cox said.
The SHS swim team’s practices work off of a four week cycle. In the first three weeks, the practices get more and more challenging, while the final fourth week is known as the “recovery week.”
Compared to other sports, Shellenberger says that competition days for swimming are easier.
“You’re only going hard each meet for at the longest eight minutes out of the entire meet,” Shellenberger said.
That eight minutes is in relation to the half hour it takes hime to finish his competitive triathlons.