For Deerfield High School students summer is a time to find some time for relaxation before the intensity of the next school year.
For athletes like swimmers Barbara Brottman and Ruby Powell along with diver Christine Stitcher summer is time to ratchet up the concentration so when the school year starts they are ready to pursue their athletic goals as well as their studies.
Earlier: Stitcher Hopes to Qualify for Three State Meet
Brottman and Powell competed with Deerfield’s Coho Swim Club over the summer winning a number of age group awards. Stitcher, who is also a Warrior gymnast and pole vaulter, competed with a club for the first time.
“This was my first full summer diving,” Stitcher said. “I’ve improved a lot. I’ve only been diving two and a half years so it (improvement) was exponential.” She did not ignore her other sports. “I worked out eight hours a day,” she said. “I spent four hours in the gym in the morning and four hours in the pool in the evening. I pole vaulted on Mondays.”
Now that Brottman and Powell are priming for next month’s State Meet, they and the rest of the Warriors are practicing before and after school. They do not start the summer that way but those workouts intensify along the way adding second practices getting them ready for the high school season.
“We don’t do doubles every day (in the summer),” Brottman said. “We start doing them every other day so we’re ready for now (the high school season).”
Coho Breeds Variety in the Water
During the summer, Powell and Brottman swim a variety of events and strokes for Coho and they believe it helps get them ready to compete for the Warriors and do well when the State Finals arrive.
Powell said. “You can do the mile and a sprint. That way we’re ready for whatever Coach (John) Sullivan needs us to do for the team.” For Powell that will likely mean the 100-yard backstroke and 100 freestyle at the end of the season. Brottman will compete in the 200 and 500 freestyle in Sectionals.
“The 200 lets me do what I do best,” Brottman said. “I have (plenty) left for the second half and it doesn’t wear me out.” She finished 8th in the event at the 2011 State Meet and hopes to climb higher. Her times are already hovering around the qualifying standard, according to Sullivan.
Powell took 11th in the 100 backstroke in the finals last year. “She is below the state qualifying times,” Sullivan said of her performance. “We’re working on the small things so they can hit the wall and go into their length,” he added referring to the current concentration.
Powell Makes Springs Her Strength
Sprints of 100 yards bring out the best in Powell. “I feel powerful but it’s still a race,” she said about the need to combine three turns into her swim. “It takes less than 55 seconds but you can do a lot.”
Stitcher spent the summer refining her technique and developing a new dive Coach Doug Foerch thinks will add to her score. “It’s a twister and will score points,” he said. “We’re also working on her entry. It’s the last thing the judges see.”
The Warrior diver was disappointed with her performance at the State Meet last year and is intent in improving it so she can ascend the medal stand after the competition. It is also the sport she plans to continue in college.
“It was my first State Meet in diving,” Stitcher said of 2011. “Now I know what to expect. Experience has a lot to do with it.”