To make the team believe what they see

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It can be used as an example. Coming in first year, she had high expectations, but she did not adapt to the different training sessions so easily, and she placed 11th in the 100-meter freestyle that season.

She looked at herself thoughtfully, which she had to do differently, and one of the biggest changes was seeing swimming as fun. She made the practice a “get-to” instead of a “homework”. Instead of bringing academic and social stress to the alley, she used it as an escape.

She got to work, even when a sprained foot delayed her at the start of her second campaign. At the Mountain West Championships, she established herself as one of the top freestyle sprinters, placing fifth in the 100 freestyle, seventh in the 50 freestyle and 11th in the 200 freestyle. His junior year only solidified his position by placing third in the 50 freestyle, fourth in the 100 and 12th in the 200 freestyle.

This year, she says she’s determined – “A fiery determined” – and Woodard totally agrees and what that can mean for the team.

“Cheeky. She’s brave, but we know it,” Woodard said. “I think that’s a good thing. We clashed, and sometimes she gets mad at me for something, or asks me something. something that I don’t think is relevant. There is a bit of that give and take, but it’s a healthy thing. I’m all for her courage, her nerve, her ardor, whatever she wants to call it .

She will also call things as she sees them, as her teammates have learned. She doesn’t lose sight of what it means to be a swimmer, the good days when you thrive in training, the bad days when you can’t get started. It’s different from the days when someone just isn’t making the effort, and there is magic that can tell the two apart.

One calls for a subtle hand, the other for a more severe voice.

“Over the past four years, I’ve watched her become more of a leader,” said Hunter. “I’ve heard her say a few times, sometimes when she can’t do it for herself, she’s found a way to do it for the team. She really cares about this team so much, cares about success. A few years ago our motto was “All In” and I think Kristina is a perfect example of that. She wants to push this team to its full potential.

“I think for her part, she’s really encouraging. Besides being just that very vocal leader, she also sets an example. Her work ethic and the energy and courage she brings to practices, people see.

The team will be in the water for a month when they head to the Intermountain Shootout at Colorado Mesa University starting Friday, and Woodard has already seen them bring an encouraging and uplifting vibe to the sprint group.

He also saw her throw the hammer when needed.

“We were talking about a case earlier where one of our swimmers asked someone in another lane to come in for a kick and lead the lane,” said Woodard. Kristina interrupted him and said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, she’s not leaving her lane. You have to lead this “, and she did, and the swimmer came to her after the session and thanked her -” You are right, I am absolutely capable of doing it, you saw it and I had to do it.

“What she sometimes says are comfortable truths. This was one of the things the staff reproached him for last year for so much going hand in hand because we were all terrified of telling uncomfortable truths.

She also has strong support to move this plan forward. Naturally, the coaches are all on board. What she feels is what they felt two years ago, but the pandemic struck, training ended for most swimmers across the country and a tough pivot had to be made.

This year, with the pandemic still looming, times have started to return more to a normal routine. The team is training like in the past – seven intense workouts a week with some strength and conditioning on the table.

It is best to develop a plan when the captains and coaches are all on the same page, and its implementation may be easier when all three captains are not only healthy and competing (which does was not the case last year), but that they also live together. .


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