Practice makes perfect

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In previous years, the Andalusia Stingrays could only practice during the warmer months. But now, thanks to the Mizell Wellness Center, Andalusia’s swim team can work on their sport year-round.

Every Sunday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., at the Mizell Wellness Center’s indoor pool in Opp, the Stingrays have been improving techniques that include the power curve, diving and stream-lining.

Stingrays 10-and-under coach Barbara Peek said the fall practices allow for better “programming.”

“This gives us the opportunity to work on skills and fine tune without the pressure of there being a competition,” Peek said. “During the summer, it’s like, ‘We’ve got to hurry up and do this and that’ — whereas this gives us the luxury of time.”

This is the first time the Stingrays have been able to have fall practices, since the team was established.

Peek said the practices have become an essential part of the program.

“This really gives us time to work on the little things,” she said. “We’ve really gotten to where those little things are going to make the difference for us.”

At the peak of the summer for the Stingrays, a few seconds can make a big difference at competitions.

“Now, (these practices) will make a difference at district and state,” Peek said. “This will held them keep their swimming conditioning up, unless they’re involved in real endurance sports during the off-season. It will help a lot.”

The Stingrays will hold two more practices before the Christmas break. After Christmas, the second session will be open for those interested in being involved with the team.

The session will start on Jan. 10, 2010, and costs $21 per swimmer for 14 sessions.

For more information, contact Andalusia youth sports coordinator Barbara Tyler at 222-2714, ext. 4.

“We have one to two more practices for Christmas and start back up for January through April until the pool opens up in Andalusia,” Peek said.

Peek said that she has seen improvement in swimmers’ techniques since the team started to hold practices in September.

“We’ve seen a huge improvement,” she said. “(11-and-up coach) Gavin (Donaldson) and I have seen the little things improve — better streamline position, better rotation on their freestyle swim, better turns and starts — just the little things we don’t have time to fix (during the season).”

Peek said she would like to thank the Mizell Wellness Center for letting the team use the indoor swimming pool for the practices.

“They have really been very supportive,” she said. “They were open to the idea from the beginning. They have been very accommodating.”