Pro swimmers are staying home & staying safe in quarantine.
It is safe to say the past month has been insane for all professional swimmers. It’s been overwhelming for everyone. Not just insane or overwhelming – unfathomable. It’s hard to wrap my mind around how COVID-19 has really affected the world. People are sick, friends have lost their jobs. The world is scared and anxious. Even with states opening back up, there is a lot of unknown. Being a pro swimmer has been tough, I’ve been often wondering “what’s next?”. I know that everyone is wondering the same thing.
Anxiety began to rise fast for swimmers, and all athletes with the Olympics still on schedule.
For myself and other pro swimmers, we were anxious for the coming months. Until recently, the Olympic Trials was only a few months away and pools started to close down all over the country. This took away the ability to train. Jacob Pebbley sent out a letter to the USOC, explaining that Olympic Trials needed to be postponed. Within days, the rest of the TYR Pro Series meets were canceled, and the Olympics were postponed. At that time the world that athletes knew stood still. It also allowed a big sigh of relief simultaneously. We suddenly did not have the pressure to attempt to compete in June. All swimmers were given another year to prepare.
I reached out to some of my awesome friends/teammates/pro swimmers to 1. See how they were doing, 2. How they felt, and 3. What they were doing to stay in shape and to stay positive during this time!
Erika Brown, Lady Vol Sprint Queen.
So I KNOW y’all know who Erika is, and if you don’t, you need to keep an eye on her. She is a true superstar, coming from the University of Tennessee. Now she is officially a professional swimmer since her senior season ended unexpectedly due to COVID-19.
“I am currently transitioning from collegiate swimming to professional swimming. Within the past month I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions. About 3 weeks ago the Lady Vols were getting ready to head to Athens, GA for what would have been my last NCAA. That all came to a halt when we learned that the NCAAs would be canceled. This was 3 days before we left. When my teammates and I found out we were devastated. All this hard work we put in this season and all the goals we have set for this meet we weren’t going to reach. Pretty soon after we found out everything began to shut down due to the coronavirus.
Having to spend this time at home without a pool give me some time to reflect on what was important. At the time it was very difficult to learn that we weren’t gonna be able to compete at NCAA’s. This was especially because this would be my last chance to race with my lady vols. A few weeks later the virus had escalated. The Olympics were postponed to the summer of 2021. After having some time to deal with the emotions, I realized that this is bigger than sports. The most important thing is the health and safety of this country.
I feel that after this time, I am going to come out as a stronger person. With a stronger faith too.Erika Brown
Erika has been able to reflect and make the most of what she has.
During this time at home I’ve had to find new ways to stay in shape, and make the best of every moment. This is not been easy and I’ve often felt overwhelmed. I took a step back and realize that I am extremely blessed just to have my health. And the health of my family and friends. I have been able to focus on the things that truly matter in life. This also leads me to lean on God‘s plan. I feel that after this time I am going to come out as a stronger person. With a stronger faith too. For now I will trust in God. I will keep working hard on the land, look forward to the next chance to swim. My sights are set on Tokyo 2021! “
Amy Bilquist, who overcame multiple injuries.
I admire Amy a lot because her story feels a lot like mine. She has faced multiple adversities and has always managed to come back stronger than ever! Amy had great success with Cal where she won five relay national titles, and came close to winning individually. But last summer she stood alone with an unexpected gold medal around her neck a the 2019 Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships in August. It was unexpected because she broke her hand just six weeks before nationals. GUYS! That is insane!
Building on her success, while overcoming adversity.
Like myself, Amy is no stranger to injury.
She had dealt with more than 12 stress fractures that put her out of the pool for some time in 2015. The day after she got out of her boot, post-stress fractures, she broke her foot. That was in October of 2018, the beginning of her senior season. Amy later on, broke her hand last year after her college season had wrapped up. Last but not least, she underwent knee surgery to remove her plica, address a torn meniscus, and do some additional tendon clean-up.
And now COVID-19 happened. Amy has truly overcome so much already, and this will only make her stronger. Amy shared her thoughts with me, along with a workout!
“I feel like quarantine postponement was necessary but it was a tough pill to swallow. I was just getting back in shape post knee surgery so having to think about having to get in swimming shape again is daunting. However, I’m happy to be spending this time with my parents and pets and recharging my mind in order to be prepared for the season ahead! Taking it one day at a time, just trying to stay healthy and fit!”
Leg Day Workout:
- 20-minute bike ride
- 3 x
- squat and pulse with mini-band
- squat position leg taps with mini-band
- alternating lunges each way
- 3 x
- side lunges each way
- pistol squats total
- lung jumpers
- 3 start sprints – 5 meters
- 3 x
- 10 squat to med ball throw
- 10 squat position arm extensions with med ball
- 5 broad jumps
Ali Deloof, elite backstroker re-setting for 2021.
I have been following Ali for a while because she is an incredible athlete. As some of you know she got 4th in the 100m backstroke right behind Amy. They both are incredible backstrokers, gunning for those top 2 spots and they have so much to offer! Short Course World Championships in 2016 was Ali’s first major international competition, where she walked away with 4 medals. She won gold on the 200 and 400 medley relays, the former of which broke the world record and Ali broke the American record in the 50 back leading off (26.12), and the latter of which set the championship record. She also earned bronze in the individual 50 backstroke
Ali and I really bonded last summer during a training camp at Chula Vista because we got to room together. She made training fun and positive, and we were best buds after that! She always cheers for me at meets and is constantly keeping up with me. We’ve been in constant contact since quarantine to check up with each other and to talk through our feelings; she is a gold star in my book.
Ali is taking the time to reflect and reset.
“During this time out of the water I am a little upset that I can’t be swimming every day but it has allowed me to try things that I wouldn’t normally do out of the pool. I have been doing yoga, HIIT workouts, getting some lifts in, spinning, and going for walks. I’m also trying to work on my mobility, foam rolling, and stretching to get that into a normal routine so I can continue to follow that once training starts back up.
I’ve also been working on mental training as well. Some things I’m doing to stay positive is writing in my gratitude journal every day, reading, keeping in touch with family and friends, as well as playing board games with my sisters.” Make sure to follow her on Instagram if you want to see what she has been up to! She even shared one of her workouts with me too, which definitely has inspired a future workout for myself.
3 Set Circuit, rest 15 seconds after each exercise and 30 seconds rest between rounds:
- Kettlebell swings
- Russian twists
- Goblet squats
- Figure 8’s
- Lunge and press
- Upright row
- Single leg deadlift
But we are all in this together.
So whether you are an age group swimmer, a professional swimmer, a masters swimmer, or just a fan of swimming, we are all in this together. Thank you so much to these incredible ladies for sharing with us what they are up to! I hope everyone is #StayingHomeStayingSafe.