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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Swim and dive to kick it up a notch

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Jordan Slaughter

Swim meet between the Arizona Wildcats, UNLV Running Rebels, and the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Jordan Slaughter Swim meet between the Arizona Wildcats, UNLV Running Rebels, and the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

Like most Arizona students, the UA swimmers and divers will travel to their respective destinations for holiday celebrations after finals. But unlike other Wildcat students, the swim and dive team will follow up eggnog and cookies with some of the most rigorous training of the season, beginning Dec. 28.

“”This is pretty much known as the toughest time of the year for training,”” said senior Jordan Smith. “”Normally it’s doubles every day. You’re running, you’re lifting, you’re swimming every day. It’s tough.””

Frank Busch and his staff will use the upcoming month off to push their athletes as hard as possible. The team doesn’t have to worry about class, and Busch sees it as a time to gear up for the next few months leading up to NCAA Championships in March.

“”If we need to get some people stronger, then we’re going to work on that; if we feel we need a little more leg strength, we might increase the kicking volume a little bit,”” Busch said.

“”It’s OK if they’re tired over Christmas break because they don’t have to worry about school,”” he added.

The workload will be heavy and demanding.

“”Kids pretty much just eat and swim,”” Busch said.

But the athletes on both teams understand how vital these next few months are inpreparation for the NCAA Championships.

They want to swim fast, and a productive winter break is the first step in doing exactly that.

“”(This month) has a huge impact on the end of the year because in swimming, you really want to push your body,”” Smith said. “”It’s important right now to think about the future and the end of the season and push yourself.””

The Wildcats’ training will be broken up with a few dual meets in early January. The women’s team will host Oregon State and Northern Arizona on Jan. 8 at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The men’s team will follow up with a race against Southern Methodist University the next day.

The swimmers will be exhausted during the meets, and the purpose of the competitions isn’t to win in dominating fashion, but rather to work on some things in a competitive setting.

“”I’m sure there will be some good racing going on, but (winning) certainly won’t be a priority for us,”” Busch said.

“”We look at (the dual meets) as ways to get confidence, and sometimes you have to look past the times and focus on what you did well in races,”” Smith said.

The two-a-day practices coupled with constant lifting and running will certainly take their toll on the swimmers, but that hard work will all be worth it when March rolls around.

“”At the end of the year when you rest, your body is going to be healing up and all of that work is going to make you in better shape than you’ve ever been,”” Smith said. “”It’s time to hit it hard and build a good base for NCAA Championships.””

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