Despite what some might think, the girls distance track team does more than run, they swim.
However, not for actual competition. Rather as a way to allow their bodies to recuperate. Instead of their normal routine of running around the school campus, the team heads to the Aquatic Center once a week.
Freshman Devyn Dancy ran with the LSW CC team in the fall and is continuing to run with the girls track team in the spring.
As a freshman Dancy, has already received a varsity letter in cross country from this past fall. Dancy enjoys being on the team and likes that once a week the team goes to the Aquatic Center to swim.
“Every Wednesday we swim in the aquatic center. First we start out with abs and go on a run for 10-20 minutes. Then we do a recovery swim, which is just swimming laps for around 40 minutes,” said Dancy
Dancy said that swimming is a way for their legs to take a day’s rest to recover. She adds that although they are swimming, they are still making sure their cardiovascular system is getting a runner’s workout.
Math teacher Jesse Griffin is the head coach for girls cross country and for the girls distance track team and once a week, he has the girls swim and practice in the Aquatic Center.
He said that swimming not only allows the girls’ legs to recover, but helps to prevent any future injuries. Running constantly breaks down the joints and the cartilage and swimming is better for the body externally, but internally they’re the same.
“Giving the legs a rest”, said Griffin, “also helps to prevent any injuries that may occur from non-stop regular training.
“We’re basically getting the same things we would get in a run, but it’s just a lot less wear and tear on their legs,” Griffin said, “we cut down on injuries and get our legs recovered. It gives them something different to do when we accomplish the same task or same objective.”
Instead of cancelling practice all together, Griffin encourages the girls to stay “mentally engaged” and go for a swim.
Susie Humphreys teaches in the PE department and is the school’s athletic trainer. She agrees with Griffin that many injuries come from athletes pushing their boundaries and not allowing their body to rest and recover.
“Doing the same thing over and over… can lead to injuries.So, throwing in a new activity that challenges the body…helps to benefit the body when it’s doing its normal [routine],” Humphrey’s said.
“Cross country runners… can be healthier and even get stronger and better at running by swimming.” Humphreys said. By taking a break and swimming laps the girls give their running bodies a breather, but still continue to increase their strength and cardiorespiratory endurance.
She also said that swimming not only, “takes the brunt of the beating off the feet, the ankles, knees, and lower back”, but also helps build muscular strength.
“It is a great resistance activity–resistance of the water helps to build strength… it gives the resistance that they don’t necessary get if they’re just running on the track. There’s not a lot of resistance that’s offered to the body to increase muscular strength. Where as you get into the swimming pool and they work the resistance of the water, they can work on some muscular strength instead of going inside the weight room,” Humphreys said.