Trailblazer swimming races against clock to prepare for conference championship

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Dixie State University women’s swimming raced against the clock, and themselves, on Saturday in wake of conference championships.

At time trials, team members swam their races while coaches observed closely at the Washington City Community Center. Coaches timed the athletes as they sped up and down the lanes and will use their findings to develop specific training plans.

Student Assistant Coach Madison Wawrzyniak, a senior communication major from St. George, said time trials are beneficial for the coaches and athletes.

 “We just want to see where the girls are at time wise,” Wawrzyniak said. “[Then we know] how much rest they need, and we can taper [workouts] going into our big meets.”

Katie Pack, a junior exercise science major from Spanish Fork, who holds four of the top 10 fastest 500 free times in program history, said training depends on the type of swimmer you are, but determining how to save energy before big races is  vital. 

“[Time trials] give us the opportunity to race,” Pack said. “Sometimes you go a long time without racing, so you forget the feel of it.”

The Trailblazer swim team first entered the NCAA in the 2016-17 season. Phebe James, a junior graphic design major from Heber City, said the team has become much faster since its creation.

“I think we’ve gotten closer as a team,” James said. “We’re a lot more open to talking to our coaches and [it helps]. We pound [training] the first half of the season… and then we slowly taper off toward conference.”

DSU’s strength is sprinters, but overall the team is well-rounded, said Mycah Ellis, a freshman pre-engineering major from Portland.

“We’re just getting better and better each year,” Ellis said. “I can even see how our team has changed and meshed as a group just this year.”

The Trailblazers regular season competition schedule ended on Jan. 13 with a win over Alaska-Fairbanks by a 318-256 count. Since then, the team has been practicing its aerobic work, technique, drills and weights. Athletes practice every day and have weights twice a week. 

“We need to just kind of work on the little nitty-gritty things,” Wawrzyniak said. “Like starts, turns, finishes and all that kind of stuff to make sure the girls feel confident and ready for conference.”

DSU will compete in the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference Championships on Feb. 14 ­— Feb. 17 in La Mirada, California.