Stephens swimmers visualize success

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | 8:17 p.m. CST; updated 8:36 p.m. CST, Tuesday, March 3, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Stephens College swimming team is using visualization exercises to prepare for the 2009 NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships on Wednesday through Saturday at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters.

The exercises are something the Stars don't get to do often, but coach Laura Wacker said when they get the chance, it helps the team in many ways.

NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships

NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships

WHEN: Wednesday through Saturday

WHERE: Rec-Plex in St. Peters

"It makes them concentrate on what their goals are," said Wacker, who also said the more her swimmers visualize what they want to do, the easier it becomes to achieve that goal.

Wacker starts by having the team lie on the floor and relax its muscles. Throughout the exercise Wacker has the team create an image in their mind of their goal at the national meet — what it looks like, feels like and where they would be. She also has the swimmers visualize all the details of an event they will be competing in, like their pace during the race and their time.

The team will be competing in relays and individual events. The highest ranking the team has entering the competition is 17th in the 800 freestyle relay.

Wacker says a small team like hers isn’t going to win because each swimmer is only allowed to compete in three individual events.

Only the top 16 swimmers in an event will make it to the finals.  

“Our main goal is to get points so we can beat some teams,” Wacker said. “Our best individual hope of scoring is Emily Younghouse in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Younghouse is seeded 26th in that event."

Hopes are high for success, and in addition to the visualization exercises, the team has some extra incentive to make the finals. Wacker told the team she would take it to  nearby St. Louis Zoo if it does well enough at the meet.

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