While students are heading home to relax and spend time with their families, the swim and dive team will be training together in Florida and Athens.
After finals, the team will be traveling to Coral Springs, Florida Dec. 16-23 for a week of training and team bonding.
Coach Rachel Komisarz-Baugh said the parents are paying for the trip and they wouldn’t be able to do it without the parents. The team also spent the first part of winter training two years ago in Florida.
With classes over for the semester, the focus will be on swimming and diving to improve for four meets in January, along with the Mid-American Conference Championships on Feb. 21-24.
Just focusing on swimming without having classes or other activities sounds easy, but it is not that simple.
“Without the distractions, all you're thinking about is swim practice and your next grueling set, so I think it really builds us mentally for the end of the season,” senior Katie Lemen said.
Developing mental toughness is a goal of the training, but physical toughness is still the focus so they can push themselves to improve as the season wraps up at the MAC Championships.
Having the time to recover allows the team to push themselves harder and do more training than usual.
“You think you wouldn't be exhausted because all you do is swim and eat and sleep,” senior Elena Patz said. “That exhaustion really catches up with you and you really got to rely on your teammates to kind of build you up and even commiserate in the pool sometimes.”
The team then will get ten days to go home before it reunites in Athens on Jan. 2 for more race-specific training before the first meet of the spring season Jan. 13.
When there are meets, practice time becomes limited if the team wants to be ready for the meets. Some of the smaller techniques can’t be focused on.
“Work on the smaller things in the swimming like faster flip turns or maybe a quicker turnover in your stroke,” junior Corrin Van Lanen said. “Something like that is more beneficial during the big chunk of training than just trying to survive a practice, per say.”
With three weeks of focusing on swimming and diving, many changes and improvements can be made to prepare for the final stretch of the season.
“There's different things that we can achieve and I think there is a lot of good that can come out of winter training," Komisarz-Baugh said.
The first chance for Ohio to see the effect of the training will be Jan. 13 for the swimmers when they host Duquesne and Xavier, while the divers head to the Buffalo Diving Invite Jan. 13-15 in Buffalo, New York.