In Practice + Pancakes, SwimSwam takes you across the country and through a practice day in the life of swimming’s best athletes. It breaks down training sessions, sub sets, and what every team is doing to be at their best. But why are they doing things that way? In Beyond the Pancakes, we dive inside the minds of coaches and athletes, getting a first hand look at why they do the things they do, and where their minds are pointed on the compass of evolution as a swimmer.
While in Lexington, SwimSwam sat down with Kentucky head coach Lars Jorgensen to speak with him about the team culture he’s built during his tenure at Kentucky. Jorgensen puts a heavy emphasis on a “total development” culture, focusing on building his team as athletes, students, and overall people. In Jorgensen’s words, “everyone in our program is going to have to go pro in anything besides swimming”. He wants his athletes to be competitive, especially in a conference like the SEC, but he also wants them to have success when they’re 25, when they’re 30, and beyond.
While recruiting top athletes is a near surefire way to get to the top of the rankings, it’s also easier said than done. Jorgensen admits Kentucky has room for growth in that area, but believes that on the development side, UK Swimming and Diving is as good at turning 3-star recruits into 5-star recruits as any other program in the nation. A shining example of Kentucky development was the 2016 NCAA Champion in the 200 back, Danielle Galyer, who also won the Elite 90 award at those same championships, which goes to the athlete with the highest GPA at the meet.