Men’s lacrosse, swim and dive preparing for winter

Mya Sedwick, Campus Carrier staff writer

Training for winter season sports can look different due to the nature of the sport itself and the weather in which the athletes practice and play. Men’s lacrosse, while not being a winter sport, begins practice Jan. 14. Since the practices and games take place outdoors, players are subject to harsh temperatures, even playing in the snow during away games in Maryland and Colorado.

In order to combat the cold weather, players ensure that what they wear to practice will keep them warm. Two pairs of socks, a base layer of tights or Under Armour and a neck gaiter which keeps the heat from escaping are a few of the ways that players stay warm during cold practices. The purpose of performance fabrics like Under Armour is to keep the sweat off of the athlete’s skin and push it to the next layer of the sweat pants and sweat shirts so the athletes are not constantly cold. 

“The big thing we do is until spring break we are going to be in sweats and a sweatshirt no matter the weather,” sophomore lacrosse player Jake Sheerin said. “I think Coach does a good job when we’re doing stick work, which is just passing so you’re not as mobile, and putting it with drills where we’re doing a lot of running to keep us mobile.” 

Head Coach Curtis Gilbert said that he tries to keep the men’s heartbeats up by doing flow drills, which require continuous movement rather than static drills, which allow players time to get cold. 

“I always joke that I can keep them warm,” Gilbert said. “If the guys are cold we’ll just run, you know.”

Precautions need to be taken for the equipment as well. Gilbert said that players are encouraged to leave their sticks in their cars rather than take them from the warm temperatures of indoors to the cold temperatures they practice in. The drastic change in temperature can cause the head of the plastic sticks to break on contact.

One unique aspect of lacrosse training is the method used for the drills. Each successive drill adds a single new element to the previous one. The players describe it as a puzzle piece; each of the drills builds on the last until the puzzle is complete and you are playing the game. 

The swim season is unique in that it spans across both semesters, beginning Sept. 23 and ending the week of Valentine’s Day when the conference championship is held. During this time, divers and swimmers are immersed in practices three mornings a week, as well as practice every afternoon and meets or practice on the weekends. 

A typical practice for swimmers begins with a dynamic warm up, a couple of laps around the pool, followed by shoulder shivers, some static stretching and a regular swim session. Divers, however, are completely different. Divers will begin with some stretching, then jump into an ab session. After these warm ups, they will work from the diving boards for the rest of practice. 

Since the NCAA restricts swimmers and divers to a 19-week season where athletes are able to receive hands-on coaching, they have to be diligent in their off-season workouts. 

“We just swim a lot,” junior swim team member Bo Dyar said. “Over the summer a lot of us will go home and swim with our home club team, and sort of just try and keep the same shape you were in season,”

Off-season workouts for divers differ from those of swimmers because their concentration is not on their performance in the water, but rather their form in mid-air. 

“It’s kind of hard for divers to dive without instruction so really just focus on cardio and abs and stretching and weights, normal in season stuff, but we just do it,” senior diver Grace Bailey said. 

According to Head Swimming and Diving Coach Paul Flinchbaugh, due to the nature of the sport, training methods for swimming and diving are dramatically different from other winter sports. Training occurs in the water, in the weight room and on dry land/on deck. Swimmers and divers make a unique transition in their training when they go from the weight rooms to the pool. Unlike other sports, with swimming every muscle group is used, as opposed to focusing on the arms or the legs. 

“The big thing that differentiates swimmers is, in any other sport you are running around and able to breathe anytime you want to. They can’t,” Flinchbaugh said. “There is a large portion of time when they are face down in the water and we recommend that they don’t breathe at that point. Some of them try.”

Leave a Reply