Student-athletes all around the country train during their offseason to better their game. There are elite invite swim camps for athletes to better understand the sport and meet others from around the country.
The National Select Camp is an elite swim camp where the fastest three swimmers in each long course (meters) event and six additional girls and six additional boys are selected based on their individual IMX Power Point scores— the average of a swimmers power points for each event— are invited to learn about the sport, train with others from around the country, and learn new skills.
This camp takes place in Colorado Springs and houses 48 girls ages 14-15 for one weekend and 48 boys ages 15-16 another weekend in October every year.
According to USA Swimming, The National Select Camp includes “[p]hysiological basis for post-race recovery; drug and supplement education; practical psychological training skills; nutrition; race strategy and race analysis.”
“Throughout the camp, we went to different meetings regarding nutrition, motivation or swimming, then we had two practices a day for a weekend. During the camp and the meetings, they talked about leadership and how you could bring it back to our home clubs, which I thought was interesting,” said Griffin O’Leary, ‘22, who was invited to the camp this year.
The camp teaches kids things about leadership and confidence, both in swimming and outside of it, that can be utilized throughout someone’s life.
“They’re very big on confidence and how swimming is a mental sport. [W]e had someone who had her own business and who was a swim coach talk about how to be confident before races and gave us some takeaways from that, which was cool,” said Maggie Graves, ‘21, who went to the camp last year.
Elite swimmers from all over the country were invited, providing many opportunities to meet others with similar interests. During the camp, swimmers made lasting bonds while swimming together and rooming together.
“On college recruiting trips, I knew people from the camp, so it kind of helped me be connected with different people in the sport rather than just from Illinois… It was nationwide, so there were people from all over. For instance, my roommates were from California and Texas. Other camps, like Illinois camps, you have people from just Illinois, […] but this was all around the country so I got to meet everyone,” Graves said.
While O’Leary is on the search, Graves has recently committed to Notre Dame to continue swimming. They were taught important skills throughout this camp that they can take through their life or athletic careers.
“They taught us about being a leader and about helping others be leaders in and out of the sport, and [about] being a good person to not only yourself but to your team,” said O’Leary.