September 19, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers utilize hectic work week for training

Photo by Edwin Gano |

Senior captain Brogan Lee said having a routine makes things much less hectic for the Knights during practice.

Repetition is the best way to learn and get better at most things, not just sports.

For the Rutgers swimming and diving team, members constantly see themselves improve each week and season, in part because during the school year, they are practicing six days a week, twice a day. In total, they practice roughly 20 hours a week. 

Although it may seem rigorous, head coach Phil Spiniello finds it necessary.

“I think in swimming, it’s an aerobic-based sport, so you have to constantly stay in the best shape that you can,” he said. “There is also an opportunity in all of those practices to work different energy systems and to work sprint, stroke and distance. From the diving side, it’s a matter of repetition.”

For any other person, it may seem like a lot, but not for the swimmers and divers. There is an adjustment period, but once they get in the routine of things, they become used to it and continue to improve. 

It also helps that these swimmers are used to the physical grind.

“I think having a routine definitely helps,” said senior captain Brogan Lee. “Getting off the routine makes things a bit hectic.”

Luckily, they rarely get off the routine, as the team practices year-round to keep improving. For the Knights, there is no offseason. 

Seeing the swimmers and divers every day allows for Spiniello to get the best out of each swimmer, no matter the day.

“When you have so many practices, you can focus on different players,” Spiniello said. “I’m more of a motivational coach. I give advice on techniques and things for them to improve on and help them through it, so it translates in the meets.”

With 21 swimmers and divers, it is very challenging to focus on each one, but that’s why there are more assistant coaches.

“We split up into different groups in different practices of the week,” Spiniello said. “Try to have everyone coached by all the coaches, so all the coaches know what is going with all the 21 athletes.”

Spiniello knows when his athletes aren’t feeling well, and as a result, he pulls them aside to see what’s going on. Most of the time he ends up giving them the day off. 

It’s really about putting one’s mind to it and being able to stay mentally strong to overcome the rigorous schedule. 

“Every single day, I walk in here and say, ‘I don’t want to do this, I hate this,’” said senior captain Greta Leberfinger. “I could be doing a million other things with the my life, but once you get going and you’re in the middle of a main set, you say, ‘Wow, I can do this, it’s the best feeling ever. I accomplished the world.’”

When it comes to practice, it’s all about the dedication that a swimmer or diver puts in to show they want it and can do it.

“Coming in here, you can have the worst attitude or you can come in here with a great attitude and try to get the most out of this set today or work on something specifically to get the most out of it,” Leberfinger said. 

For updates on the Rutgers swimming and diving team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Ryan Moran

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