Winter training


Lynn Stoneburner & Michelle PollardCollegian Reporters

As South Dakota State University students head home for the holidays, they look forward to three weeks of vacation time. The gym lights are off and the basketballs locked up as students depart. Right? Not necessarily. This vacation time is cut short for many SDSU athletes, because practice makes perfect.

SDSU athletes who participate in winter and spring sports will not have a break that is quite the same as those who do not participate in sports. The student-athletes will either be hard at work at their high schools or back at SDSU early. Different from other sports, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team is going on a training trip to Cocoa, Florida this winter break.

Despite the fact that they will be in the warm Florida sun, the team is anticipating a week of hard work.

“The winter break training trip is the most important part of the season, as far as practicing goes, because our second semester is much shorter than the first,” swimmer Zach Olson said. “I expect to come out of it in great shape and ready for the rest of the season.”

While in Florida, the team will swim over 60,000 meters, which is a little over 40 miles. There will be four hours of practice a day and depending on the weather, cross training activities such as running, playing soccer or ultimate frisbee will be added.

The purpose of the practices will be stroke work as well as aerobic conditioning. Erickson also said that an additional purpose of the trip is to maintain the training effect gained during the first semester.

Going into the trip, coach Brad Erickson has both short term and long term expectations from his team.

In the short term, Erickson expects sore, tired bodies and long term, Erickson expects better times and a better taper.

Tapering is what swimmers do before the North Central Conference championship meet. It involves resting and using previous training as the base to rest on.

Despite all of the work, the team will have some fun on the trip. Between practice times, they will head to the beach and a day at Universal Studios in Orlando is planned. The trip will be from Jan. 1-Jan. 8.

Members of the SDSU women’s basketball team will have the chance to spend the holiday with family, but return to action immediately after.

“It works well for us this year. We get the weekend, Christmas Eve and Christmas day off,” said junior post Karly Hegge.

The SDSU women’s basketball team will be back on campus on December 26 to prepare for holiday games. The Jackrabbits will practice for two hours each day when they are not playing one of the four games scheduled over break. The Jacks face Morningside, South Dakota, St. Cloud State, and Minnesota State-Mankato.

Practices for the Jacks usually run from 4-6 p.m. throughout the end of December and early January. The team hopes to keep the momentum going into the new year.

The 9-2 Jacks hope the practice pays off, especially when they face Mankato. The Mavericks are currently 6-2 overall and hold a 2-0 record in the conference.

The men’s team will return to campus on the night of Dec. 25 to prepare for their games over break. The men’s team takes on the same teams that the women’s basketball team plays. Of the teams, St. Cloud is ranked in the top ten in Division II and are the team to beat in the NCC this season.

Even though the SDSU student-athletes won’t enjoy the typical winter break, it will be a nice change of pace to not have to balance academics and other campus activities with their sport.

“It will be great to get away from everything and just concentrate on swimming,” said Olson.

When returning from break, be sure to check out the Jacks at home the first weekend after classes resume. Friday, Jan. 11, the wrestling team is at home and the men’s and women’s basketball team takes on Augustana on Saturday, Jan. 12.

#1.888370:3643756839.jpg:swim.jpg:South Dakota State swimmer Camren Hillewaert swims the breaststroke during the Jackrabbits last home competition. :Sue A. Pulse