The Georgia Swimming and Diving team hosted Texas A&M University in their first dual meet of the new year on Jan. 11, 2019 in the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Georgia. Both the Georgia Women and Men defeated their opponents. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

At 5 a.m. every weekday morning, while Georgia’s campus sits stagnant, the swimming and diving team is up and ready for its first practice of the day.

5:30-7 a.m. is the normal start time for the swimmers and divers’ workouts. At this time every Monday through Friday, the team warms up with cardio and weights. After an early morning workout, the team parts and switches back to their role as students, leaving their adrenaline behind them.

It is not long before the team goes back to practicing. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the athletes come back to Gabrielsen Natatorium for a second round of practice from 2:45-4:15 p.m., where they hit the water for another two hours.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, however, are even busier. They finish at 5:15 p.m. after two back-to-back practices. In the afternoon, the first practice consists of running and heavy exercise, and the last one is strictly in the water.

“When I come to practice, I usually do some cardio beforehand to loosen up, especially after weights in the morning,” diver Josh Getty said. “We do a team warmup of abs or stretching as well.”

For the diving team, their warmups take place on the dryland setters, found near the media stands at the top of Gabrielsen Natatorium. The drylands are the most crucial part of their practice since this is the time they perfect their flips and hurdles before hitting the water.

After that, there is no wasting time.

“We are just here for two hours and 15 minutes for water practice. We go in and do some basics and then go right to optionals. We really hit it hard and try to utilize that full two hours of practice,” Getty said.

There are plenty of factors that go into crafting a flawless dive: adapting to the water, the boards, and maintaining core strength and posture. The most important factor — and the one that is emphasized in each practice — is consistency.

“We really try to break things down and focus on specific things that we need to keep consistent. It is based on basics and repetition,” diver McKensi Austin said. “A lot of it depends on the time of year. In the summer, we focus on learning new dives and in the fall we try to build on those and make them better.”

What may seem like a busy day for an average student is just a part of life for the Georgia swimming and diving team.

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