The Georgia coaching staff cheers. 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)

The Georgia swimming and diving team has been excitedly preparing their minds and bodies for upcoming championships. A gauntlet that includes the SEC championship, the last chance meet, diving zones and the NCAA championships begin Feb. 18 and continue each week through the end of March.

The preparation for championship contention is no easy task. The swimmers and divers have been working on weight plans since the summer of 2019. Weight plans prepare the athletes for success by making sure each athlete’s physical and mental wellness is maintained throughout the season. Furthermore, the weight plans go hand-in-hand with a healthy and conscious diet.

“It’s a lot of maintaining [right now],” junior diver Josh Getty said on Jan. 8. “Not only in the pool, but also about what you eat.”

During winter break, the Bulldogs participated in what they call “Christmas training,” a rigorous 4-week training program specifically meant to prepare for championships.

Deemed the hardest training of the year, the premier goals during the traditional month-long process are to increase volume and swim faster. Junior Jack Dalmolin praised the intense training, saying it was successful and “set [Georgia] up well for this part of the year.”

While rigor and training are significant aspects that ranked Georgia’s swim team No. 3 in the SEC, one of the biggest ways the Bulldogs are preparing for championships is strengthening and maintaining their team relationship.

“I’ve noticed that we’ve started to encourage each other during practice,” Getty said on Jan. 8. “We’re always reminding each other that we’re here for a reason, and that reason is to help out the team and strive as individuals.”

Team culture and bonding are important for the swimmers and divers to make sure they are in agreement regarding collective and individual goals. The Bulldogs often perform team stretches and the women’s swim team has monthly team brunches which, according to senior Veronica Burchill, allow them to bond.

“We have such a good group this season,” Dalmolin said. “I’m excited to see how the team performs [at SECs] with the great atmosphere we’ve had all year.”

The Bulldogs will be traveling to Auburn University from Feb. 18-22 for the SEC championships.

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