Getting back in shape is a process

Special Olympic Dream Edition –

I’ve been swimming here in Dover, NH for two weeks now. Every day is an improvement, but its frustrating for the first few weeks. In order to earn enough money to live here, I worked instead of swimming, for a month. A month off is a long time. The swimmers here have been training since April and are well conditioned. I have been swimming since last week. I’m not unique, many college swimmers return to their club teams over the Summer to find themselves getting beaten in practice by twelve year olds. My poor conditioning, combined with the fact that almost everyone on the team here are sectional or national level swimmers, means going last in the lane and still hoping that they don’t catch me.

The question is, why are they so fast?

First, no swim team I have been a part of is like this one. Every practice is at least two hours. Mondays, wednesdays, and fridays are three hours long starting with an hour dry land training, and two hours in the pool. Tuesdays and thursdays may be two and a half hours long in the pool. I’m not sure when morning practices are, (because I’m not going to them) but I know they have them also. They also practice on saturdays. This is much more swimming than any age-group club I’ve ever been a part of.

Moreover, every swimmer that is present is there to swim and get faster. Not to say that all Maine swimmers are slackers, but there is always a few swimmers who aren’t really there to focus on swimming.

Everyone wants to be here.

Training is also significantly different. There is more variety to sets and more focus on breathing and underwaters. When it comes to variety, I can’t say that its necessarily better. In my mind, training methods in swimming have reached an impasse. Most clubs, like Seacoast, swim their practices under the method of “Traditional Training”. In fact, at least 90% of teams everywhere train like this. However, there is a growing method that may be the next step in the evolution of swim training. But that’s a topic for another post.

The last few days of practices have been fairly good and I’ve managed not to embarrass myself so I am definitely earning back my endurance. We’ll see where I am once I start lifting again…



Matthew England

About Matthew England

Matt is a former Bangor High School swimmer and currently swims for coach Susan Lizzotte at the University of Maine. He holds team records for the Bangor Hurricanes, Bangor High, and the University of Maine. He is an exercise science major for the class of 2016.