Swimming Scholarship with Dryland Training during a Gap Year with SURGE Strength

Taking a gap year to earn a swimming scholarship with dryland training from SURGE Strength was the plan. Jack and his parents reached out to us about a custom Dryland Program. This isn’t the first time we’ve encountered a swimmer taking a gap year. In fact, taking a gap year to increase your athleticism seems to be increasingly more common. At SURGE Strength it’s one of the more common goals swimmers ask us in regards to attaining a swimming scholarship with dryland training.


Swimming Scholarship with Dryland Training Initial Assessment

Jack took a gap year to train with SURGE Strength with a goal to improve his times to increase his chances of getting recruited to a D1 swim program and have a roster spot on a college team he was excited to go to. Our initial focus during the fall of 2022 was achieving Winter Jr. time standards in the 100 and 200 Butterfly.

Jack started training with SURGE Strength in mid Sept 2022. Jack is 5’9, so our goal was to build his power of the blocks and walls. Heading into Winter Jrs. the most biggest goals in his custom Dryland Program were:

  1. Increase Jack’s hip mobility.
  2. Employ increased hip mobility with dynamic stabilization of the core muscular complex to produce strength and power.

One of Jack’s Movement Assessments jumped out. It was the Hip Hinge Movement Assessment which showed a need to increase Jack’s functional hip mobility for greater force production:


Swimming Scholarship with Dryland Training Begins

At the start of the drill Jack shows excessive lower back extension and anterior pelvic tilt (i.e. Lower Cross postural imbalance). This combination of conditions places the lumbar spine in an unstable extended position due to anterior hip flexion which reduces optimal alignment under loads, potential force production and absorption. Lower Cross postural imbalance results from weakened abdominal and gluteal muscles and tightened hip flexors and lower back muscles.  Essentially this postural imbalance not only prevents the ability to maintain optimal position in the water but can also cause pain and lead to injury.

Much of Jack’s SURGE Strength Dryland Program focused on exercise techniques to bolster hip mobility in concert with  building  balanced core stability and lower body strength and power. Increased hip mobility resulted with self-massage exercise techniques using a foam roller and dynamic and static stretches to relax the hip flexor complex. During Jack’s SURGE Strength Dryland Program these exercise techniques were scheduled daily both as part of the warm-up for strength training sessions and during recovery days.

The hip hinge was practiced daily with the dowel during strength and later on strength and power focused training days to reinforce the technique as a warm-up.


Swimming Scholarship with Dryland Training Progresses

We later progressed the hip hinge in the strength and power phases by adding various loaded versions including barbell hip bridges, band resisted trap-bar deadlifts, hang cleans, high cleans pulls, hang clean and jerks. As a swimmer of shorter stature, Jack is at a disadvantage to taller swimmers so we also incorporated plyometric exercises, to enhance lower body power production to shave a few tenths of shorter events. Jack mentioned the various medicine ball throws and jumping exercises we programmed into his Dryland Program really helped improve his start!

Jack said “These exercises allowed me to explode off my walls really well!”

Jack’s SURGE Strength Dryland Program shifted to a quick power-based workout to perform as warm-up for the Winter Jrs. meet.


Swimming Scholarship Achieved with SURGE Strength’s Help

Thanks to training with Surge Strength, Jack is committed to swimming for the University of Hawaii in Fall 2023

Final words from Jack about his training experience with his custom SURGE Strength Dryland Program.

“I’ve really appreciated your coaching and workouts. I was able to achieve the goals I set in the beginning of the year. I ended up committing to University of Hawaii. And I think training with SURGE Strength was a big help in that!”



Reach out to us at SURGE Strength to get started with a customized Dryland Program. We’ll utilize your onboarding assessment results to dictate the best dryland program starting point for you!


Check out more SURGE Strength successes with Age-group & Senior Swimmers:






Dryland Training Certification






Dryland Training Certification




Dryland Training Certification

Dryland Training CertificationDryland Training Certification




The goal of SURGE Strength is simple:



SURGE Strength - Dryland Training for Swimming

Courtesy of SwimSwam’s exclusive dryland training partner, SURGE Strength.

SURGE Strength is swim-specific, strength training by Chris Ritter. SURGE Strength builds better athletes and faster swimmers through Dryland ProgramsCourses and Certification.

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About Chris Ritter

Chris Ritter

Swimming has always been a part of the life of Chris Ritter, founder of RITTER Sports Performance What Chris discovered after his swimming career, as he entered his swim coaching career was how important dryland training for swimmers can be. Chris has earned numerous strength and conditioning certifications, including: CSCS, NASM-PES, USAW …

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