Grind begins for D-B swimming team

Pat Kenney • Dec 11, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Most people see the Christmas holidays as a festive time of the year.

For the Dobyns-Bennett swim team, it’s a time to get to work.

When the Indians finished their dual meet with Greeneville on Thursday in the D-B Aquatic Center, it marked the halfway point of the regular season.

Now the real work begins.

The D-B swimmers normally swim up to 5,000 meters a day in their after school practice sessions.

That’s fixing to change.

“Over the holiday break we’ll swim up to 10,000 meters a day,’’ said senior Stuart Owens. “It’s such a grind you really have to prepare yourself mentally.’’

The purpose of the heavy workload is to build the swimmers’ stamina and prepare them for the final run to the state meet in February at the University of Tennessee.

“How long we keep up the increased distances depends on how well we progress during the Christmas break,’’ added Owens, who is within two-tenths of a second from breaking the D-B record in the 200 individual medley.

Sophomore Olivia Loveless also is steeling herself for the upcoming regimen.

“This is not an easy sport,’’ said Loveless, who also competes in track and cross country for the Lady Indians. “It’s so much tougher than people realize.’’

Making the transition from cross country to swimming takes some adjustment for Loveless.

“The two sports get you in different types of shape,’’ shoe noted. “It’s actually easier for me to go from swimming to track. But overall each sport helps prepare me for the others. After this fall’s cross country season I came into swimming with a lot more confidence.

“As much as anything, going from running to swimming and back is a good mental break for me,’’ Loveless added.

Day in and day out over the next few weeks the D-B swim team will be grinding it out in the pool looking to build a base that will ultimately lead to improved times. The same goes for other teams in the area.

“I’ve been swimming since I was 9 years old,’’ Loveless said. “I can’t stop because I love it so much and it makes me feel good.’’

While runners can vary their routes from day to day, swimmers see the same black line at the bottom of the pool on each and every lap they swim.

“This sport is as much mental as it is physical,’’ Owens said. “The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I live for getting in that pool each day and seeing that black line.’’

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