Editor’s Note: As the UConn men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams prepare for the American Athletic Conference Championship in Houston from Feb. 18, Husky junior Walker Hill will write a daily diary on the team’s preparation. Here are the first entries.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Day After Senior Weekend And Last Home Dual Meet
Every sport that represents the University of Connecticut competes in their respective Championship Season. For football- the conference championship, basketball-March Madness, baseball-the conference tournament and NCAA tournament, but for swimming and diving, our championship season begins with the conclusion of Senior Weekend.
The sport of swimming incorporates about a two to three week long ‘taper’ that leads up to our championship meet. Yardage at practice is reduced and there is an added importance of technique, speed, and intensity to ready our bodies to perform at the highest possible level.
Senior Weekend is one of last dual meets of the season marking the beginning of championship season. The following day Coach Bob Goldberg decided to make practice optional. Coach has the experience to know that giving his athletes a practice to decide what is best for them allows the staff and the swimmers to rest physically and mentally. Physical rest is a large component of day-to-day tasks, but mental rest at a time of year when school is beginning to pick up and the stress of performing successfully is rising is key.
To swimmers on any team at any level, it is a collective agreement that optional practices are very productive. Swimmers are able to get creative and use past experiences to determine what will best prepare them at the conference meet. In the locker room, on the pool deck and in the pool there is a different atmosphere and a different connection between athletes. Teammates find themselves analyzing and discussing practice and recent performances.