A Small Glimpse into What It Takes to be on Swim Team

Natalie Arce, Contributor

Being on the La Serna swim team may not be what you think it is.

There is much more that goes into it than just swimming “back and forth”  in the school pool. The practices for swimmers are not simple and they consist of working out both inside and outside of the pool. The swimmers have to do dry land, which is a workout outside of the pool, including using weights which target muscles they need to work on.

A typical day of dry land consists of running to Murphy Ranch or around La Serna, and doing exercises such as squats and ab workouts. The swimmers’ practices can range from early as 5:45 in the morning or after school for two hours. They have the option to attend the morning workout, in which they focus on their legs, arms, core, and back.

“An example of what we do in the weight room for a day would be back squats, dead lifts, pull ups, calf raises, and jump rope,” said Olivia McGrath, who is a junior on the varsity swim team.

On other days the swimmers focus on sprints, long distance, breathing patterns, dives, and turns. “Breathing patterns are important to practice daily because you need to expand your lungs. So, for example, in practice we have to do 100 meters which is four laps back and forth. The coach will tell us that every seven strokes we can take a breath,” said Natalie Hernandez, a junior on the varsity team. It should also be noted that if they take too many breathes, they can get a side cramp which will ultimately slow them down.

Diving is also important to practice, because the swimmer need to adjust the body to dive from different boards. They need to make sure that they tuck their head and especially push their body forward. All of this is essential to the swimmers to ensure that they do well in their meets.

Non-swimmers may have other misconceptions about the sport. In swim, if a swimmer places first that does not always mean he or she did their best. “You’re racing against your own time and placing first is good to rank points for your team. However, getting first does not mean that your individual time has dropped,” said  Hernandez. She explained that as an individual, the swimmer wants her time to be lower, because that indicates that she is become faster.

A common comment made about swim is that it is not a “real sport.” “Although all sports are challenging in their own ways swimming is a full body workout that you need good endurance for,” said McGrath.  Swim requires that every part of the muscle is working, such as biceps, core, shoulders, neck and thighs. An example of a swim stroke that works several muscles would be breast stroke. The breast stroke emphasizes muscle use on the back, neck, thighs, calves and even hands. “It is one of the slower strokes that emphasizes more technique,’’ said  Hernandez.

Lancers interested in seeing the results of the work the swimmers put into their sport can watch the La Serna meets as swim season is happening now.