Dive In For District
Swimming team breezes through District on to Regionals
February 12, 2016
It’s Thursday and senior Elaina Terrell and the other Rider swimmers just finished warming up. She sits and waits for her event to be called.
“Girls 50-yard Freestyle.”
That’s her cue. Terrell gets up, puts her swim cap on and steps behind one of the diving boards. As she slips her goggles on and prepares herself for the dive, she stands silently for a few moments.
Terrell steps on the board and stares at the water. She sets herself. She’s focused and ready.
3… 2… 1…
The buzzer sounds. She dives.
On Jan. 21, the swim team went to McMurry University in Abilene to compete in the District 5-5A championship. 10 students from Rider competed: six girls and four boys. All of them made it through to Regionals.
Terrell has been on the swim team all four years. She swam for three and managed for one. She found out about swimming after one of her teachers told her about it. She wanted to try something new so she decided to join.
After District she and the rest of the team moved on to the next level.
“When I found out the whole team made it to Regionals, I was really excited for them all,” Terrell said. “We’ve all worked really hard and everyone deserves their spot at Regionals.”
Senior Shane Peterson, another 4-year swimmer, knows what is to be expected at District and Regionals. Peterson believes the success they’ve had this year is because of their coach.
“Coach Zahl has been pushing us a lot harder than he usually has in previous years,” Peterson said, “and in return everybody has been doing a lot better. He’s very diligent about us finishing our work.”
Coach Oyvind Zahl has one new thing that he implemented this past year called USRPT. It stands for “Ultra Short Race Pace Training.” According to usaswimming.org, one of the foundations of this concept is the Principle of Specificity, which states that “training must be specific to the sporting event in order to achieve performance improvement.”
“It’s a new thought of how to prepare swimmers for races,” Zahl said. ”It seems to work. It makes practice shorter but a lot more intense.”
Zahl has been coaching swim for the WFISD since 1998. Alongside Rider, he coaches students from three other schools: six from Old High, one from Hirschi and one from Burkburnett.
“The Rider swim team has done better this year,” Zahl said. ”I haven’t changed much. I have had a really young team at Rider in the past two years. They are just getting stronger and faster.”