Jan. 24, 2008
- 25 Years of Carver-Hawkeye Arena
- Big Ten Network: Programming Schedule
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
- Check out gohawks.com
IOWA CITY, Iowa — At the University of Iowa, there is more to swimming and diving practice than logging lap after lap in the Field House pool or repetitive springs from a diving platform.
Although not a new or revolutionary form of training, the Hawkeyes have spent more time this season working out on land which has translated into more success in the water. The dry land workouts are primarily coordinated through assistant coach Kirk Hampleman and implemented by Hampleman, head coach Marc Long and strength and conditioning coach Bill Maxwell. Assistant coaches Frannie DeBord and Robert Pinter are also critical in helping with the program.
“We’ve seen dramatic improvement both physically and mentally,” Hampleman said. “Swimming is a very individual sport in many ways. Through dry land training, we’re building character and the team learns how to work together.”
Some examples of dry land practices include running every step at both Carver-Hawkeye Arena and Kinnick Stadium, doing V-up abdominal exercises, up-downs, push-ups, medicine ball training and strength training, which includes Olympic-style lifting and up to 400 up-downs in a row for 30 consecutive minutes.
“We believe in being fit and strong as an athlete out of the water,” Long said. “This is also good bonding time for the team. When you’re swimming, your face is in the water a lot. With dry land training, we’re bonding as a team through intense exercise.”
Long said that Maxwell and Hampleman have done a “great job” facilitating the dry land program. During the season, the teams complete back-to-back dry land and weight activities three days a week.
“We’re trying to build a worker’s mentality among the team,” Maxwell said. “We have a lot of young team members, so we’re creating a culture of hard work that leads to camaraderie.”
UI sophomore Stacia Johns from Williamsburg, Iowa, echoes the sentiments that dry land training offers many benefits, from keeping swimmers fresh to boosting team chemistry.
“It makes our training schedule more diverse rather than staring at the bottom of a pool all the time,” Johns said. “It’s good for team-building and a bonding experience because it’s a challenging workout and gives us the opportunity to cheer each other on.”
The training has translated to success in the pool for the Hawkeyes. Since January, the Iowa women are 2-0 in dual meets with victories against Western Illinois and Illinois and they won the team championship at the Florida International Invitational. The Hawkeye men also placed first at Florida International and defeated Western Illinois by 96 points.
“We don’t look at it like it’s going to be a fun workout, but we all like to push ourselves. Dry land for a swimmer is probably harder than doing a swim practice because we prefer to be in the water. This is also good from a mental perspective because we aren’t getting burnt out in the pool.”
UI freshman Max Dittmer
“The key is transferring this to the pool,” Long said. “We have taken dry land training to a very regimented level, down to what we wear for certain exercises to how we act, to how we push ourselves. It’s pretty intense. We’re breaking barriers on land and learning a lot about ourselves physically.”
Long said that the collegiate swimming season is not only very long (October to April), but the majority of the events are sprint-oriented. Combined with the fact that the Big Ten Conference is one of the deepest in the nation, the Iowa staff knew that this training approach would be beneficial.
“The team learns to work together, but we’re also instilling in the athletes that pushing yourself through these workouts is worth fighting for,” Hampleman said.
“It’s like a badge of honor for the people who go through this,” added Long.
A glance at the Iowa roster shows why team bonding could be a necessity for the Hawkeyes. Of the 31 men on the roster, more than 77 percent are freshmen (13) or sophomores (11). Of the 24 women, 75 percent are freshmen (eight) or sophomores (10).
Max Dittmer, a UI freshman from Muscatine, Iowa, said the swimmers have gotten into “ridiculously better shape” because of the dry land training.
“We don’t look at it like it’s going to be a fun workout, but we all like to push ourselves,” Dittmer said. “Dry land for a swimmer is probably harder than doing a swim practice because we prefer to be in the water. This is also good from a mental perspective because we aren’t getting burnt out in the pool.”
Click HERE for the Big Ten Network home page.