As much as coach Dan Kesler hopes that his athletes are primed and ready to compete at the first practice, the fact is the beginning of the season is often spent focusing on regaining endurance in the water and meticulously working on technique.
“We’re not doing a lot to get up speed,” Kesler said. “We’re building a foundation.”
The foundation is set up during the first weeks of practice as athletes get back into routine, but the intensity will increase dramatically after October.
The mindset now is not on breaking records, scoring points or gaining speed, but training the athletes and rebuilding the base for the season, Kesler said.
“It’s all the little things, even showing up on time and getting ready for a workout,” he said.
Freshmen Ricsi Bohus said it is not uncommon for athletes to lose intensity over the summer. The Hungarian swimmer said he is adjusting to the Sun Devils swim practice schedule after taking a two-month break from swimming.
“The most important is to improve technique,” Bohus said. “We work on almost everything: improving our body in the water, working on increased pull and better strokes.”
This is also a time for freshmen swimmers to adjust and fall into place in the world of collegiate sports. As upperclassmen look toward the final meets of their college careers, their wisdom and experience is passed on to the new faces of ASU swimming.
Captains have not yet been chosen for the season, but that does not stop leaders like junior Zac Dalby and senior Tristin Baxter from taking time to teach the newcomers.
“Zac is doing great,” Bohus said, “every time we have to show something, Zac is there.”
Baxter said the seniors take an active responsibility in training and embracing the freshmen, while working to instill the values and lessons they have learned from the coaches in the past years.
“We’re getting back into the swing of things and the freshmen are learning,” Baxter said. “Every year starts like this, it’s important they realize the little things.”
The little things like maximizing turns, breathing in and out of walls, and stroke technique are what coaches Dorsey Tierney-Walker and Kesler are focusing on most heavily.
It is these aspects in the pool that don’t take a lot to fix but make all the difference in the end, Baxter said.
It’s the beginning of the season that creates the momentum for the rest of the year, and with it brings excitement and intensity to the pool.
Athletes have friendly competitions during drills and coaches’ spirits are high as they encourage, yell, celebrate and teach.
“I look forward to the end but I get excited now,” Kesler said. “if we do what we need to now, it will pay off big time at the end.”
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