For many, summer is a great time to relax and recover from nine months of late-night cramming and early-morning rising.
But for Penn student-athletes, summer isn’t much of a rest. It might be the offseason, but few athletes can afford to take the summer off. On top of all of the training, throw in a full work day in the office and suddenly, a warm summer’s day doesn’t seem so pleasant anymore.
For DP Sports’ three varsity student athletes, however, it is nothing they aren’t used to. Check out how they are balancing it all below.
Carter Thompson (men’s golf), Sports Reporter:
During the school year, golf provides a unique challenge when it comes to practicing and training due to the amount of time that it takes to play a full 18 holes.
In the summer, with so many more hours in the day, it is much easier for me to practice and train in order to be ready when our season starts in August — with so much time it is hard to not improve solely from playing so often.
However, this summer I am faced with the challenge of trying to train and improve with a nine-to-five job. It has forced me to improve my practice and be more efficient with how I structure my practice — you can’t be competitive only practicing for such a minimal amount of time unless you’re using your time efficiently.
This is the challenge I have enjoyed trying to accomplish this summer. It makes practice enjoyable knowing there is something to accomplish each day to build up to compete wearing the Red and Blue in the fall.
One benefit of working during the day is the ability to weight lift in the morning and be fully recovered by the end of the day when I get to the golf course. Golf requires a lot of touch and fine motor skills, so soreness is one of the worst things you can deal with when you’re practicing. Having the time to recover during the day has given me the ability to focus a lot of my summer training on improving in the weight room.
The improvement in the weight room was one of the areas I wanted to address most this summer with my reduced practice time. If I was able to take advantage of building strength, I could hit it farther and have more endurance when the season rolls around, regardless of how much practice I inevitably would get.
One way you can “train” in golf is to play the golf course as opposed to hitting on the driving range. Most nights after work I will go play nine holes before it gets dark. The two hours it takes to play nine holes matches perfectly with when it gets dark and it gives you reps doing what you will be doing in tournaments.
In the past these summer months would be filled with four to five hours of solid practice and another four hours to go play 18 holes. While I miss those days, I feel like I am more motivated than ever to have myself in shape in the fall to compete for Penn. Playing for something bigger than yourself gives you the motivation to push your limits past where you thought you could go. Regardless of how much time I have each day, once golf season comes I’ll be as ready as I’ve ever been.
Reina Kern (women’s rowing), Sports Reporter:
Training over the summer can be a difficult task for any athlete. You are not surrounded by your team and coaches to push you, and most of the time you’re juggling an internship and training at the same time. This is the case for me this summer.
Like many other sports, rowing is a lot of aerobic conditioning and is about being physically strong. Since we race in both the fall and spring seasons, it is crucial to come back prepared and ready to pick up where we left off.
The past two summers when I was training for field hockey, I was given a packet of running workouts that I followed religiously. I knew what to expect from each workout and knew how to prepare for the run test I would have to complete in August during preseason.
However, now that is not the case. While we will also be receiving workouts, I am not entirely sure what to expect since this coming fall will be my first fall season on the women’s rowing team. As always, I can rely on my teammates for advice, but I have never physically competed in a 6k race, since the spring consists of all 2k races.
Despite the fact that I may be new to the sport, I feel that field hockey has prepared me to be able to conquer the fall rowing season. I am used to the strenuous summer training and maintaining a competitive mindset to be able to contribute to the team when we return to school. I will use the same fire in me to be able to compete at the Division I level in rowing that I used for field hockey in previous years.
While I would usually play in summer leagues for field hockey in the past, this summer may be harder to train for a sport like rowing. Since I will not be very close to a boat club this summer, I will mostly rely on the ergometer and running.
Thankfully, I have the ability to row in lifesaving boats for the Beach Haven Beach Patrol in Long Beach Island, NJ as an ocean lifeguard. Although this is not the same as sweeping (the type of rowing we compete in with one oar per athlete), it will definitely still keep me in shape to compete in the fall. Rowing in the ocean can be a difficult task and will prepare me mentally and physically for what is to come. The beach patrol also swims and runs on a daily basis, so this will help with my conditioning as well.
As I said before, the fall consists of 6k races versus the 2k races in the spring. Thus, it is more about endurance on the ergometer rather than a sprinting mentality. This summer will be a crucial time for me to not only lengthen my erg workouts to prepare my body for this shift, but to also lengthen my runs and conditioning workouts to meet these requirements.
Cole Jacobson (sprint football), Sports Editor:
What makes sprint football, and all fall sports, unique is that we truly have to be in peak condition when the school year rolls around. No collegiate student-athletes can afford to take the summer off altogether, but with fall sports, there’s no time for “catching up” if we show up out of shape. Given sprint football’s nine-team, two-division structure, this is even further exacerbated for us — though other fall teams can shake off the rust before Ivy League play with non-conference matchups, we show up for our opening practice on August 26th, and we have a regular season game with direct championship implications only 21 days later.
Personally, in terms of the time balance, I’m lucky to avoid any major training conflicts. I have a pair of small summer jobs for two sports companies, but both allow me to essentially create my own hours and work from my Los Angeles home. So with that, I can devote two or 2.5 hours every weekday to nothing but getting ready for the fall.
Our strength coach, Pat Dolan, gave us a very detailed lifting and running summer program, so I fortunately don’t have to worry about conjuring up my own workouts to challenge myself. Of course, another unique aspect of sprint football is its weight limit of 178 pounds — admittedly, I took too much advantage of the buffet-style meals while in Israel in late May and hit 190 pounds after that, so that only adds extra motivation to work; there aren’t many better ways to lose weight than running gassers in the L.A. summer heat.
Once that time to grind rolls around, there’s really nothing else that matters. For those couple and a half hours each day, I don’t think about summer jobs, or making plans with high school friends, or helping out with The DP — all that’s on my mind is getting another championship ring, and doing anything in my power to make that a reality.
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