The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

Swimming practices require dedication, durability

Due to the mental struggles surrounding athletes, the swim and dive team focus on clearing their minds especially with championships coming up.
Aidan Cassidy
Fluttering away…During a recent practice, senior Elijah Gehman and sophomore Caroline Kelcy practice their backstroke. The swim and dive team are preparing for their upcoming meets.

As championship meets approach, the swim and dive team works on the psychological aspects of competing, as well as the physical aspects. 

Souderton Area High School swim and dive team head coach Louis Williams acknowledges how intense the physical aspects of their practices are, but he also opens up about the mental focus needed. 

“We call it paralysis by analysis, kids that overthink during practice or meets tend to freeze and do worse,” Williams said. “You have to be able to let mistakes or bad swims go, and move on to the next one. You have to be able to celebrate good swims and positive things, but, also let those go and move on to the next thing.”

According to senior Abraham Bleazard, he finds it challenging to clear his mind from the school day or for various other reasons.

“It’s hard due to you being left alone with your own thoughts for two and a half hours; it’s like an echo chamber of negative thoughts,” Bleazard said.

Swimmers must not only clear their minds mentally but also find a way to push themselves through practices and meets. “As well, going from set to set, just trying to survive, trying to get to the next lap, can I just make it to the next turn or the next lap? It really is difficult to handle that,” Bleazard said.

Williams knows about the mental battle involved with the practices and meets, and he has his own way to face it. 

“We do something called a team meeting, and that’s something I think is extremely important to practice,” Williams said. “Breathing meditation is used during these meetings to disconnect them from their school days and get them to focus on what we’re doing for practice that day. I think that breathing meditation even though it is a small part of the team meeting is a very crucial and important part of it.”

While most people have their own way of getting their mental state ready and clear, senior Jessica Burns clears her mind in a more social way. 

“I try to surround myself with people who are talking and can help me be distracted all the way up to even 30 seconds before a race, so in both practice and meets, I’ll try to be around talkative people,” Burns said.

Williams holds practices Monday to Saturday from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm, and two morning lifts thrown in throughout the week. Williams knows how grueling this practice schedule can be, and he believes there are two things swimmers need to focus on to not only be able to be prepared for practice and meets but to be able to recover from them as well. 

“Sleep and nutrition are very important, especially this time of the year as we get into championships. I encourage them to track sleep, and that they eat enough, if they don’t, they will really struggle to get through two and a half hours of swimming,” Williams said. 

Diet is also a very important thing for swimmers to worry about. Most swimmers’ diets are high in carbohydrates and calories, so that way they can keep and use a lot of energy while they swim. 

“Diet is very important, but I eat school lunch everyday, so sometimes I feel absolutely bloated and feel absolutely terrible. But if you don’t eat a lot of calories, it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to swim for two and a half hours,” Bleazard said. “Since swim started I’ve personally lost 12 pounds, and I’ve been eating the same amount of food as I would on a normal day and I’ve still lost so much weight. It’s important to eat so not only you have energy, but also so you don’t destroy your weight at the same time.”

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Aidan Cassidy, Staff Writer

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