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July 20, 2012

Greetings from the `Burgh!

Summer is typically a time for vacation and relaxation. However, Pitt's swimming and diving team has been busy preparing for the 2012-13 season. Our team is working harder in this off-season than I recall when I first joined the squad in 2009! We have a large group of student-athletes staying in Pittsburgh for the summer to train and take classes. As a result, we are growing both individually and as a team.

Our daily routines are similar to how it is during our regular season with classes, training and internships. Training during the summer shows who is committed to becoming a better swimmer or diver. We all want to see individual improvement as we transition into the Atlantic Coast Conference.

At the beginning of June, I attended the Panther Leadership Conference at the University of Pittsburgh's Johnstown campus. About 50 athletes from seven different teams were guided through activities and workshops to discover their own strengths as well as things they improve upon to be better leaders. I appreciated that we were split up into four different groups, which allowed us to make new friends with athletes from other teams. We also had time to meet with your own teammates to discuss things we noticed or learned. Swimming and diving had the largest representation of Pitt athletes, which was something I was proud of. It was a very rewarding experience and is something that is offered every summer.

Now that it is July, summer break is coming to a close. The swim team has been training outdoors at Highland Park since Trees Pool is being renovated. We have to wake up earlier to get to morning workouts; however it's good because Highland Park is a change of scenery for us. Our divers have to travel to Settlers Cabin in the morning, while diving at Chatham University at night. The cool thing about diving is that most of them were former gymnasts. Understandable, this is why the diving and gymnastic teams at Pitt spend so much time together. They are focused on flexibility and strength training.

Our competition schedule for the 2012-13 season is similar to recent years with a few minor changes. Notably, the Big East Championship is later in February than it has been in the past. We will have to adjust our training and tapering plans accordingly. We are also looking forward to 21 newcomers this fall - 11 girls and 10 guys. These numbers would not be this high if it wasn't for the recruiting efforts of our coaches. As a team, we hosted several recruiting trips and got a chance to really interact with all of the incoming freshmen.

Panther fans thanks for all the support! Expect to see a stronger swimming and diving team this season. I hope to see you at Trees Pool for a home meet!

Hail to Pitt!
Kelsey Herbst

Summer Blog from Senior Captain Kelsey Herbst

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