By Matthew DeRenzo
The William Paterson swim team is heading to the Caribbean island of Barbados for intensive training over the winter break.
The men and women’s swim teams will make the trek from Jan. 3 to Jan. 10.
The teams will go from swimming in an indoor, short-course, 25-yard pool, as they do at the William Paterson campus, to swimming 50 meters at the outdoor, long-course pool in Barbados.
“There’s training effects when you go from short-course to long course,” said Ed Gurka, the head coach for both the men and women’s teams. “Every time you swim 25 yards you do a flip-turn and it’s down time for your heart, but when you’re going long course there is no 25 yards to push off of. You’re not doing a flip until the 50 meters.”
Gurka said he hoped the trip to Barbados would keep the students more engaged with training. If they were training only at home during the break, they may become distracted.
The training process in Barbados will follow a schedule of one workout session in the morning and one in the afternoon.
“If you’re doing five thousand yards here, there it is equivalent to about six thousand yards,” Gurka said. “The real reason we go is because we come back in much better shape.”
Gurka described traveling to Barbados as a great “learning experience.”
This is not the first time the swim team has made a trip to another state or country to go for training. The team previously visited the Dominican Republic, Virginia Islands, Curacao, Trinidad, Tobago, Florida, and, most recently, Puerto Rico. They traveled to Barbados twice before in the 2012 and 2013 swim season.
Gurka said last year’s trip impacted athletes. “The first part of the year we were doing hundreds on the strokes and when we come back second semester were doing two hundreds on the strokes,” he said. “That is night and day difference.” He said he hopes to continue this pattern for this season.
The William Paterson swim team will not be the only team practicing at Barbados. The Canadian national team will also be joining in the process. The pool they are using in Barbados is a 10-lane pool, so there will be many other teams doing separate exercise routines but in the same pool.
The current swim season started on Oct. 8 and concludes on Feb. 19.