By Emily Sampl//Contributor | Monday, December 23, 2019
Winter training – love it or hate it, it’s a reality in all levels of swimming, from age group to high school, college to professional. Coaches start to ramp up their training with quality, uninterrupted practices that are sure to create a masterpiece of a championship meet down the road. For swimmers on the other hand – winter training can be, well, a grind. So, what are some ways to add some fun and spice to winter training? Here are a few ideas!
- Week in Heaven
At the Marlins of Raleigh, head coach Paul Silver has the senior group complete 80,000 yards in 10 practices. Swimmers who complete all 10 practices get a sub sandwich.
- Week in Heaven 2.0
If you’re willing and able to put a few dollars into it, a team training trip to a warm and/or tropical destination can be a great way to ring in the new year, get some quality training in and add a few tan lines. Although trips to the beach are awesome, you don’t have to go to a place like Maui or the Bahamas to have a great experience! Spending time at a different training facility with some team bonding mixed in can be equally fun.
- The 12 Days of Christmas
Try a fun holiday-themed set or series of practices, like the 12 days of Christmas! Start with 12 and work down to one. The sets could occur in one practice, or in the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
- Reindeer Relays
At Marlins of Raleigh, the team holds “Reindeer Relays” – two swimmers swim side by side – the reindeer – while a third, Santa, swims behind and holds their legs.
- Christmas Tree of Destiny
“Started by NOVA of Virginia coaching legend Diane Cayce, multiple practice groups have adopted this annual tradition,” said coach Geoff Brown. “A large paper Christmas tree is hung on the wall of a practice group, and swimmers will pick various ornaments not knowing what is underneath (the destiny) – some are skill-based tasks, some small aerobic or sprint sets; many are fun activities that are left up to the creativity of the coaches.”
Not all activities around the holidays have to be swimming related. NOVA of Virginia swimmers get a list of 8-10 families in need in the area, gather and wrap gifts and cards, then deliver the presents. “This charitable effort is our largest Christmas focus and is quite heart-warming on delivery day with tears and hugs on all sides being a regular part of this activity,” coach Geoff Brown said.
- Holiday Gatherings
Treat your swimmers, coaches, parents, alumni and anyone else in the team circle to a holiday gathering to celebrate the season. White elephant gift exchanges are always fun, or potluck holiday dinners. Celebrate the past, present and future swimmers with a gathering away from the pool deck.