By Leila Dycus staff writer
The Morgan County Marlin swim team is in full force as they prepare for meets in the month of June.
“Summer is actually the swim team’s time to relax and enjoy a more fun level of competition,” said Coach Andy Dunston.
With the start of summer the Morgan County Marlins are kicking into high gear preparing for upcoming meets and a summer of fun. In June the Marlins will participate in a long course meet, travel to Reynold’s Plantation for a dual meet and host the district Championship. Those who qualify will head to Tifton to participate in the state meet.
“The Tifton State Meet is the one I look forward to the most,” said Dunston. “Since it’s far enough away that all the participants have to stay overnight, it gives parents, swimmers and coaches an opportunity to hang out away from the pool and get to know each other.”
Dunston continued by saying that the state meet is outdoors and very well run. Before the swimmers can make their way to state they have to work hard and prepare during practice. Workouts can vary tremendously from one practice to another. Coach Dunston described a workout by saying that they typically start with a warm up set, followed by a main set and then a warm down set. A main set varies depending on what the focus of the day is.
During practice the Marlins may focus on skills, endurance, speed, breath control, stats or turns. The swimmers are separated in terms of age. Divisions include six and under, seven and eight, nine and 10, 11 and 12, 13 and 14, and 15 and up. Currently, the youngest swimmer on the team is 6 and the oldest is 17. In a normal practice youngest swimmers usually swim 1,700 to 2,000 yards. Oldest swimmers typically tackle 4,000 to 5,000 yards. One mile is about 1,700 yards and consists of the same caloric burn as running three to four miles.
The skills focus on legal stroke and turn techniques, breathing patterns and techniques, pacing, and kick cadence. When working on speed the team usually focuses on short sprints verses speed for middle and long distance races. The Marlins also work on conditioning as well as the mental rigors of competitive swimming.
“In the past few months we have seen a lot of development in our youngest swimmers,” said Dunston. “So I am really looking forward to seeing how much they have improved.”
Dunston continued by saying that they have just gone through a cycle where all that we have been teaching has seemed to “click” with the entire 12 and under group. Coach Dunston is expecting to see drops in the times of those swimmers. One of the highlights of this season is sure to be the District Championship which the Marlins will host at the end of June for a third year. The Championship will be between the Marlins and the Baldwin County team.
Although Coach Dunston expects less than 100 swimmers it is still a great honor to host the district meet. At the district meet swimmers must place in the top three to qualify for the Tifton State meet. To swim in the state meet even as part of a relay team is a big deal. For the coaches and parents it’s a memorable experience to watch their swimmers compete on a larger stage. For more information about the Marlins visit their website: http://www.morganmarlins.org/Home.jsp?team=gamcm