Inside Pine Crest Swimming Performance Program
This blog is based on a Q&A session with Pine Crest swimming coach Katelyn Miller and strength and conditioning coach Tim Hibbs. For more than 80 years, Pine Crest School has been at the forefront of providing an educational experience rooted in academic rigor and excellence and complemented by outstanding athletics and arts. The main high school campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Swimming at Pine Crest is a year-round commitment with the exception of a two-week break in August. The annual training plan is divided into three seasons with championship competitions in March, July/August, and November/December.
Our seasons usually begin with general conditioning and circuit-based training, followed by 6-8 weeks of comprehensive strength training, and finally a 1-3 week period of rest/taper prior to the championship meet. In swimming, our taper is typically a slow transition from the heavy resistance training to lighter speed-based training, and then out of the weight room entirely during the week of competition.
We have multiple age groups that utilize the new state-of-the-art Brandon Knight Sports Performance Center that was designed and equipped by Perform-X. Our age-group athletes (ages 12-14) train 2x per week for 45 minutes each session. The senior/national level athletes (ages 15-19) train 3x a week for 45 minutes per session. The specific training discussed below relates to the senior/national athletes (ages 15-19) .
Strength Training: an overview
The strength training program is mostly focused on balancing the deficits that swimming creates. Swimming is heavily reliant on the anterior or forward muscle groups (chest, shoulders, core, quads, etc). This leaves a significant need for posterior chain development (back, glutes, hamstrings), which is the main focus of our strength training, as well as shoulder development and injury prevention.
Do you utilize Plyometrics?
We plan on adding plyometrics after high school competitive season is complete. With the addition of the Perform-X equipment, specifically the Jump-X system, we are excited about the benefits of adding these plyometric exercises to the program.
Program variation by specialty: sprint vs. distance
Although there is a vast difference between sprinters and distance swimmers for training, these differences are not established in strength training for our athletes given the importance of just being strong. There is more focus on the different energy systems being developed and maintained in the pool to meet the demands for each athlete’s distance/stroke.
How has the new facility and the Perform-X equipment been incorporated?
The greatest part of the facility thus far has been the increased work space and the facility layout. The number of racks and platforms, as well as the turf area, make our 30-person strength workouts far more efficient. Regarding the Perform-X equipment, I believe we have only begun to scratch the surface for the possibilities. The Trak-X and resistance cords both in the inlaid platform and on the wall and racks have been invaluable for creating diverse and versatile exercises for our athletes that specifically targets the “deficits” identified.