You might see them walking into school in the morning, hair wet, having already been up for three hours. You might see them leaving right after school, heading for yet another four-hour practice. You might not see them at all during the holiday breaks, as they are mostly in the pool for their marathon practices. They are the Dynamo girls, those who devote most, if not all, of their free time to practice swimming.
While they are on the Pace swim team, they do most of their practicing at the Dynamo Swim Club, an organization that specializes in teaching kids of all levels how to be better swimmers. The Pace girls who practice with Dynamo, senior Gwynnie Lamastra and sophomores Brenner Appel, Grace Ferry and Madison Graham, normally train for around 21 hours a week at Dynamo, or almost a full day of swimming and about 45.5 days over the course of a calendar year. That is way more than the 10 hours a typical Pace swimmer swims per week, and then only from late October to January.
The Dynamo swimmers will also travel all over the country for various invitational events, such as their trip to Minnesota for a swim meet about two months ago. “We travel a few times in the winter and have three or four travel meets over the summer,” said Gwynnie. The program is truly year-round, as the swimmers have to swim during almost every break. “We swim over breaks, especially over winter break, and we get one break for about two weeks before school starts where we don’t have to swim.” said Gwynnie. The girls love it, though. “Even though swimming’s more of an individual sport, Dynamo makes it more of a team atmosphere, where we can all encourage each other to do well,” said Brenner.
The swimmers also find time throughout their busy schedules to make room for Pace swimming, where they dominate in both individual events and relays, qualifying for state and breaking records in almost every event. They are required to come to at least one practice a week, but when meets start they can just attend those. As Grace Ferry notes, there’s a certain element that makes Pace swimming special. “I’m really excited for the state meet because not only do I get to be with my school team, I also get to compete against and hang out with my Dynamo friends from other schools,” said Grace.
Although they wouldn’t trade their Dynamo experience, there is one aspect of their training that they agree is the worst: the three-hour morning practices before school starts.
The GHSA state championship meet is today and tomorrow at Georgia Tech.