35 Athletes Take on 24 Hour Practice


35 Athletes Take On Challenge of 24 Hour Practice

On December 30, 2009, thirty-five Northern Kentucky Clippers ranging  in age from 14-18, took on the annual challenge of the Cavalcade of Toughness - 24 hours of training and team building.

The Athletes

This group of swimmers is made up of girls and boys from all of Northern Kentucky.  It includes swimmers that are top ranked in the state of Kentucky, ranked in the top 25 in the United States and among the top 150 in the world.  On a regular basis, most of these athletes train 9 water workouts a week plus 3 dry-land workouts.  However, on this day they put together a grueling 24 hours of training.
In addition to all the time they spend at the pool, they also “get it done” in the classroom. These student athletes score 30+ on the ACT, keep GPAs of 4.0 and higher, and earn not just athletic scholarships, but academic scholarship and recognition as well.  To date, 3 Clippers seniors have committed to swim in college (LSU, Louisville and Kenyon College) and at least 5 more will in the spring.


The Training
The training is not just a challenge physically but more importantly, mentally.  During the 24 hours swimmers can not leave the facility. They go through 10+ hours of water workouts including a 12:00 am-3:00 am workout of 12,000 yards, 4+ hours of land training and 4+ hours of team meetings/meals.  They do get a break from 3:30-6:00am to rest the body before getting up for a land workout and a water workout and then a challenge of one last swim, for time, before they go home.


Some people may ask why swimmers would do something like this.  Some do it because their friends are doing it (peer pressure).  Some do it because of the workout (physical).  But most do it because they know it is something that not many are willing to attempt.  These are the swimmers that do it for the training, the team bonding and the pride.  They know it is a tradition that was started in our program and they want to keep the tradition alive.  It is so exciting to hear the swimmers standing around telling war stories of previous years and seethe sense of accomplishment they have in their eyes and smile when they look up and say this is my 2nd, 3rd,4th or in some rare occasions 5th year of participating.  Younger swimmers look forward to the time that they will be able to take part. They come in over the course of the day and look down from the bleachers in amazement and excitement watching their older teammates doing things they think are impossible. This is why these 24 hours are so important. These 35 swimmers are athletic icons that the swimmers of tomorrow can watch and emulate.

The History

Six years ago during a regular workout, former Coach Andy Rose and I conceived the idea of a ”Cavalcade of Toughness”.  We wanted to do something to challenge our swimmers beyond what they thought they could do.  We felt we were at a point in our team’s history that a pride of tradition was forming. This cavalcade makes the statement about the focus of our training. The best swimmers from our past continue to check-in on December 30th to see what is in store for the 12 am to 3 am practice.  “Don’t get soft on them, Coach!” is what they remind me every year!


Congratulations to all swimmers who conquered another 24 hours. Special congratulations to the graduating seniors who finished their final 24 hour practice.


Mary Bank                          Krissie Brandenburg                       Shane Coltharp
Melissa Thurman             Brooke Schutte                                 Gracie Lynne
Maddie Mescher             Carlie Herich                                       Katie Eichinger
Linette Green                    Rob Walsh