Photo courtesy of sewaneetigers.com
The Sewanee Swimming and Diving Team, clad in brightly colored bathing suits, push their arms and legs through the thick gym air as they warm up with land exercises. “At least a one minute wall sit followed by pushups, as many you can do, as fast as you can go,” Assistant Coach Doug Albany’s voice bounces off the concrete walls that wrap their arms around the pool. Bodies collapse upon the ground after the exercise is complete and it seems as if the room has grown even more humid with the advent of such physical exhaustion.
It’s not difficult to pick out swimmers amidst the crowds that rush around the Quad between classes. Not because they’re decked out head to toe in swimming gear, but rather because they all have a very distinct tan. This isn’t the result of team trips to the tanning salon (well, not as far as we know) but instead due to their weeklong training trip to Puerto Rico over winter break. This was the first trip to Puerto Rico in the history of the team – historically, the destination had either been Florida or Panama City Beach. Albany explained the importance of this trip as being, “not only a bonding experience but also crucial to the success of the team. Winter break falls during the height of our season. It’s so close to the championship and it’s time to iron things out. By traveling to a warmer location, it motivates the team to push through the most difficult training week of the year.”
Albany went on to praise the Tigers saying, “Since January, this is the best training I’ve seen any team do in my four years here. It’s our time to shine.” And despite the long hours and grueling two-a-day workouts, (one of the practices being at six in the morning) the team still manages to show up with smiles on their faces. Describing one reason for the motivation behind this tireless effort, Anna Thorson (C’16) says, “It’s not easy, but you have your teammates to push you through to the end.”
Both the men and women’s teams have been experiencing great successes this season with more than one first place win for each respective team. And, considering their dedication, hard work, and positive attitude, it’s no great surprise that these teams are consistently bringing home blue ribbons.