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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Inside Practice: The S&B dives in with the swim team

As other students flock to D-Hall on a Wednesday evening, the members of the swim team stand shivering on the pool deck, waiting for their turn to dive in the water. 

“Hupph,” dictates Associate Men’s & Women’s Swim Coach, Tim Hammond, mimicking the sound of a diver entering the water. “You know it’s a good start if there’s a ‘hupph.’”

As the room fills with splashes and the heavy scent of chlorine, all that can be seen is arms cutting across the lanes.

The team practices Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and occasionally practices on Saturdays, according Eve Galen ’19, one of the captains of the women’s team. Students who have no afternoon classes can attend the earlier practice.

In addition to practices in the pool, team members are expected to do dry-land conditioning.

Since the start of the season in October, the swimming and diving team has competed in three meets. The women’s team, led by women’s captains Galen, Anastasia Pulak and Rebecca Teske, both ’19, won their Nov. 2 meet against Coe College 183-56, their Nov. 3 meet against Luther College 188-95 and came first out of four teams in the Monmouth College Mini-Invite on Nov. 10. 

Men’s captains Kai Vorhies, Joshua Tibatemwa and Brody Mikuta, all ’19, led the men’s team to win the Coe College meet 165-72, win the Luther College meet 185-87 and come second out of four teams in the Monmouth College Mini-Invite.

Vorhies said that the first-years on the team have been a standout.

“A lot of the first-years this year are very fast, I’m excited to see what they can do,” said Vorhies.

The Monmouth College meet was particularly mentally and physically challenging, but encouraged the team to step up their game in the coming weeks.

“We’ve been coming off of really hard practices and challenging sets in the weight room, and an away meet which also can be mentally difficult because you’re in a different pool,” Galen said.

At a typical swim practice, the team warms up, then does a “pre-set,”  a “main set,” and a “cool down” in the pool.

“[The pre-set] sort of mimics what the main set will be in making sure they get to the intensity or almost the intensity they will see in the main set,”  Hammond said. “Then we get into the main set, which is where we typically think of the majority of the anaerobic and threshold work being done.” 

Then the team often works on technique, kick sets, and hypoxic sets.

As they prepare to swim warm-up laps, the swimmers perform dynamic exercises like the arm swinging before each practice to stretch on the deck before they enter the water.

“One thing that’s different here at Grinnell that doesn’t happen everywhere is we encourage them to start getting warmed up on deck before they get in the water,” Hammond said. “We have them do dynamic movements in order to set a base level of range of motion that’s appropriate to the movements we will have them do in the water.”

Another unique element of practice is that the men and women practice together, which is rare in Pioneer athletics.

“I think the fact that there’s no real delineation between the two teams other than that we score points separately brings a different atmosphere to the way that we practice, the way that we approach competition and the way that we interact with each other,” Galen said. “We have a lot of respect and appreciation for the people not just on our team, but on the men’s team, because it feels like we’re one cohesive group.”

This cohesive attitude gets results. Hammond said that the team always aims to win the Midwest Conference  title in February, but that the swimmers themselves have varied goals. 

“They want to do well in class, they’re always looking to be an academic All-American team, and they’re looking to make Grinnell a more inclusive place generally,” Hammond said.

In addition to bonding at practices, the swimming and diving team also volunteer together. The team recently participated in “Hour of Power,” a relay fundraiser for sarcoma research founded in honor of a deceased Carleton College swimmer.

“We like to have a good time but we also like working hard,” Vorhies said. “I guess the general dynamic is supporting each other and pushing each other to do the best we can do … I really love the people I swim with.”

The swim team practices at least five days a week in the Russell K. Osgood Pool, in addition to their dry-land workouts. Photo by Elena Copell.
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