Dryland: SWAMI Style

SWAMI's Invigorating Dryland Routine

One would assume that just about every swim club nowadays instigates a dryland routine available to their swimmers on a fairly regular basis. But after traveling to the Florida Keys the past two summers—and three times in four years—SWAMI coach Matt Finnigan got to witness firsthand what great potential dryland can have to a swimmer's training regimen. As seen at The Race Club, Finnigan knew that his kids were only scratching the surface in terms of intensity, strength-building, and creativity.

So RACE SWAMI kicked it up a notch. From ultimate frisbee to tire flipping, to ab rollers, SWAMIs use speed, agility, power and teamwork to get the job done 3-5 times per week.

"Some of this stuff is new school, but a lot of it is old school," Matt remarked. "I think tire flipping, for instance, is about as old school as you can get," he laughed. "We came up with the idea from a routine Ryan Lochte does in Florida, but it became pretty obvious we had to do it when we found a bunch of tires lying out there at Steiner West's back 40," referring the grassy area behind Louie's Boxing Club located at Sorenson Unity Center.

The SWAMIs indicated that they hate those tires, but realize soon enough that they actually love them when they uncover what the activity does for them. physically—if not mentally "At first I thought our coaches were crazy asking us to get out there and flip tires," Marcela Vasquez said. "But then as soon as you're not so sore anymore and you dive into the pool for a Time Trial Saturday practice, you start feeling some of that added power coming into play. So as much as I hate those darn tires, I kind of have to love them too."

Boxing is also a frequent activity for all the SWAMIs and the exercise is part of a circuit done at Louie's Boxing Club located right across the hall from the pool at Steiner West. "I like that it adds speed as well as works the core... and provides our kids with focus," Matt notes. "Most of all, it gives these kids some 'attitude' so when they walk up to the blocks for a big race, they're not afraid... We may not always be the fastest kids out there but we look focused and ready to compete with anyone."

The circuits get the kids revved up too—going from one exercise to the next at the sound of a loud bell in the boxing gym—and they train with Salt Lake area boxers, moving in between stations with amateurs and pros alike. "I'm not sure how many swimmers in Salt Lake, much less anywhere, get the chance to train with aspiring big-time boxers," Matt said. "It's been a great blessing for us. They're as supportive of us as we are of them."

Be it old school or new school, the bottom line is that the SWAMI coaches get the kids working hard and working with each other--and having fun. "We teach them to encourage each other to push themselves beyond what they think are their limits, regardless of how tired they are... and that's been the best part of all," Matt said. "Team work and passion. And 100% effort. That's all we ask."

As for the SWAMIs? They love the harsh dryland training. "Even though it's tough, it's a lot of fun because it's stuff we get to do out of the water," Job Velzaquez said. "It's like we work really hard but it's something we get to do away from the pool. That's a big deal for a swimmer who needs something new. This training keeps things fresh, and we are getting way strong. My times are dropping in everything I swim. I attribute that to a lot of what we do here." 

Story courtesy of Bobby D. Filbert
Westside Herald Crier