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Freshman swimmer doubles as triathlete
By Ben Knoester

Brad WhiteIn athletics, the off-season is frequently viewed as a time to work on the details of a particular sport. For a baseball pitcher, it might be their delivery. For a tennis player, it might be their toss. For a soccer goalie, it might be their punting technique. While one must never overlook the details, it is safe to say that the off-season is not usually considered a time of real physical exhaustion for athletes. For freshman swimmer Brad White, the off-season is anything but rest and relaxation.

"During the summer I try to keep in shape by participating in triathlons. I do quite a few, usually about four or five a summer. I travel out of state for a couple of them, but they are all in the Great Lakes region. Triathlons are kind of my summer activity, and once swimming gets done, I'll start to train for them."

Triathlons are perhaps the most grueling form of exercise one could possibly imagine. Participants compete against each other in three different legs of competition, one after another. First the athlete swims, then bikes, and finally runs to complete the triathlon.

The most difficult one White entered last year included a 1.2-mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike ride, and ending with a 13.1-mile run.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a graduate of Dayton Christian High School, White has not only taken his training to a higher level in the off-season, but in the pool during season as well. As a freshman, White was introduced to a speed/strength workout the swimmers call "The Power Rack" for the first time this year. It is a weight machine that operates on a pulley system. Swimmers hook a belt around their waist, and as they swim forward, the weights lift up.

"Coach Gelderloos clocks us as we swim across the diving well. He starts the clock as soon as your feet leave the wall," he said.

The weight and pulley system only has enough weight to equal 100 pounds. Amazingly, White started his workouts on The Power Rack at 75 pounds. By the end of the season, he was up to 95 pounds.

All the hard work White puts in during the off-season and regular season has already begun to pay off in the swimming pool. During the MIAA championships in mid-February, White was part of six Calvin school records, establishing three new individual marks while also being a part of three record-setting relay teams-easily qualifying for the All-MIAA first team.

White established new Calvin records in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle events. In addition, he was a part of Calvin's record-breaking 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle, and 800 freestyle relay teams. The 800 freestyle relay took home a first-place finish for the Knights, as they set a school and pool record of 6:53.36.

"Before our race at the MIAA championships, [teammate] Chris Veltman told me how bad he wanted to win the relay. I swim anchor for the team and got involved in a tight finish with a great swimmer from Kalamazoo. Towards the end of my anchor, I put my head down, reached for the wall, and just beat him by a couple hundredths of a second. Without my teammates though, I never would have been in that situation to begin with."

The Calvin swim team finished a strong third at the MIAA championships with 367 points, a 67.5 point improvement over its third place score of a year ago. "This year was one of our best showings for the guys swim team," commented White. "We had great team unity and it was really neat to be a part of a team like that. There was such a positive atmosphere in the pool—especially during our meets."

 

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