No competition? No problem for winter athletes

Members+of+the+squash+team+practicing+during+Potomac%27s+abbreviated+winter+season.+

Potomac Smugmug

Members of the squash team practicing during Potomac’s abbreviated winter season.

Kate Tuttle and Chase Edwards

Last Monday’s senior day celebration for winter athletes marked the end of Potomac’s first seven-week sports season. Throughout the season, every winter sport had to overcome several hurdles (pun intended) because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Each program, however, was able to meet the challenges while developing unique and safe training programs for their athletes.

Virtual workouts have been a big part of this year’s winter athletics program. All sports have virtual options for Zoom-learners, but this winter, instead of choosing a specific sport to fulfill their athletic credit, athletes had the choice to attend Zoom fitness sessions three times a week. Virtual workouts, however, look different than the weight room training that sophomores, juniors, and seniors have seen before. 

 Junior Ella Froemming told us, “The workouts definitely became more cardio-focused this year as all of the students used to share weights, workout bands, and bars. However, I think the school is making good use of the time online.” Body-weight workouts are simpler to manage at home, but athletes are also enjoying other workouts, including yoga sessions taught by Mrs. Brock, which provide much-needed opportunities for students to relax and destress. 

The wrestling team really “grew their grit” this year, as the whole program had to change drastically. Due to Covid-19 concerns, athletes were not allowed to wrestle each other. Instead, they participated in a new workout regime called “Barbarian Bootcamp,” which included brief weight-lifting sessions and exercises on the turf. All of these activities aimed to improve strength and agility so that non-senior athletes will be prepared when they are able to wrestle again. 

“Ninety-five percent of the time we lifted weights and did cardio-focused exercises, but one day we had dummies and we were able to wrestle them, which was really fun,” freshman Finn Avis said. 

Runners, throwers, and jumpers on the indoor track team continued to train outdoors and participate in intramural competition this season. In a recent 800-meter time trial, all five athletes ran best times. Athletes have taken advantage of online resources this season, with team-wide Zoom meetings and a virtual meet against other schools in the ISL and MAC conferences. 

Sophomore Devon Cleaver explained, “I really enjoyed the Zoom meetings with the whole team. [The meetings] gave a sense of community and a reminder of what being fully together looks like, which was really fun.”

Last year, the squash team made the transition from the courts in Chester to the courts in Spangler. This allowed the team to have many more practice courts and more room to spread out, which is critical for social distancing. Squash coaches have also made sure to enforce a maximum of two people per court to ensure proper distancing between players. 

“Last year, we would just play King of the Court [a squash game in which players switch courts after each match depending on whether they win or lose] and talk with friends. Now it’s more drills,” current freshman and previous member of the IS squash team, Fifi Loza explained.

Swimmers have continued swimming together at the Madeira pool, however, this year only on Monday and Thursday mornings. On other days, swimmers use the multi-purpose studio in Spangler to do “dryland” exercises and weight room practices. Because all of the swimmers have been able to train together, the team’s group dynamic remained strong. 

A high point of the season was being able to have a full team experience and be able to bond with underclassmen and upperclassmen,” junior Hannah Bell said. 

In basketball, athletes have been unable to play contact games, so they have primarily been focusing on fitness and technical skills. With practices in the new Spangler gym, the basketball teams have made the issue of social-distancing during practice much easier.

“A lot of people are now able to play and participate in drills together,” said freshman Chloe Winslow. 

From the start of the winter season, all teams have been dedicated to continuing their improvement despite the challenges they faced as a result of the pandemic. We are excited to see what the athletes will do in the fall and spring competition seasons.