Long distance swimmers train differently

By Kensington Thomas and Mannah Rice Hughes, Sports Editors — Every sport takes hard work and dedication. Not many people know about swimming, and they know even less about smaller categories such as long distance swimming.

Head Coach Erin Crabtree and assistant coaches Zach Borras and Hannah McCulloch have led the swimmers through the 2014-2015 season.

Long distance swimming is much different from normal swimming. Distance swimming requires swimmers to maintain a constant speed for a long time versus a sprint race where the swimmer goes all out as fast as they can for a short distance.

Distance swimming is similar to distance running the techniques for swimming distance is different than it is for other events.

“You can teach the technique to other swimmers, but if you do not have the natural muscles and stamina then it is really hard to swim that long,” Crabtree said.

Students train hard on their own prior to the season and during the season with one another. Weight lifting is done after practice to build stronger muscles to swim longer periods of time.

Junior Alison Jacobs and senior Nick DePietro have done outstanding in long distance this season. Jacobs has been swimming since she was six years old. She does a lot on her own to prepare herself for the upcoming seasons.

“I swim year round on my own or with a Y team,” Jacobs said.

Swimming long distance is something Jacobs loves to do. She enjoys going to practice. However, swimming long distance takes a lot of endurance.

“Throughout the years, I can see my endurance building up,” Jacobs said.

At the beginning of the season, swimmers start with stroke work and then work their way up to distance.

Swimmers who swim long distance are given a lane to themselves and do a lot more yards and longer sets their other swim team members.

In a high school meet, distance swimmers will compete in the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle events. During practice, distance swimmers swim between 5000 and 7000 yards a practice.

“Training a distance swimmer is different from a sprinter because long distance swimmers focus on building endurance and sprinters focus on not breathing and perfect swimming,” Crabtree said.

Both boys and girls teams have done better this year than previous years. The boys have had less swimmers on their team than other schools.

Scoring in long distance is different with every meet based on how many teams are competing and how many lanes are being scored. First place earns six points and sixth place earns zero points.

Relays are more points and only three relays can score.

“Distance is what I love. I might join a club when I go to college,” senior Nick DePietro said.

[Updated Aug. 8, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]