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ND Swimming: Athletes to train in Florida

Jared Jedick, Samantha Leonard, and Chris Doyen | Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The most important part of the season is here for the men’s and women’s squads as the teams put in hard work that they hope will pay off down the road.

The women get a much-needed break and are permitted to return home for Christmas. Irish women’s assistant coach Joel White said time the swimmers spend with their families is key for establishing the mental and physical endurance necessary for their difficult upcoming training schedule.

“The girls get to go home for seven days, the most ever,” White said. “They need the rest to be ready for the remainder of a really long season that lasts until July and the Olympic trials.”

The men will get to take a break from swimming until Dec. 28. Once training resumes, the squad’s intensity level will pick up considerably.

“We’ll want to recuperate from exams, and we want everyone to be with their families for Christmas, but once we get back, we have a few weeks where we’ll be training with great intensity,” men’s head coach Tim Welsh said. “The schedule goes straight on through the Big East Championships in February.”

Following the almost month-long break from competitive action, the men will head to Boca Raton, Fla. to train beginning on Dec. 30. The athletes will then travel to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for their first-ever dual meet with Louisiana State on New Year’s Day. The Irish will look to build on a solid showing at the Ohio State Invitational and hope to see improvements based on their rigorous training.

The men, who are 2-3 in dual meets, will face an LSU squad that has been dealt losses by national powerhouse Stanford and conference foe Georgia. Most recently, the Tigers were runners-up to Florida State, finishing a convincing second at the Georgia Tech Invitational.

The most recent CSCAA national rankings indicate the meet should be competitive. LSU is ranked 21st with 92 points, while Notre Dame is only two points behind in 22nd.

Following the holiday showdown with the Tigers, the Irish will stay in the Sunshine State and travel to Boca Raton for the Saint Andrew’s Invitational on Jan. 5.

The women, meanwhile, will head to Miami to train as soon as their break is over on Dec. 27.

The team will follow a rigorous schedule of training for a few days, then competing in a meet against LSU on Jan. 2. After that event comes several more days of training before the squad finishes up with a meet against the University of Miami.

“It’s our last push,” women’s head coach Carrie Nixon said. “The girls are only able to get through it based on their great dedication and their support for one another.”

The training is not easy, as the women will be putting in days of intense physical conditioning: more than four hours of swimming practice every day in combination with dry-land circuits, weight training, cardio and yoga.

The team hopes this last push will leave it well prepared for the postseason. The men and women want to take this time to perfect their techniques and their tempo for the upcoming Big East finale.

The women will return to competition in South Bend against Michigan, Indiana and Illinois on Jan. 10. The Irish hope to earn as many NCAA national championship automatic qualifications as they can.