Pool provides joint relief, bonding


Mary-Lynn Retassie

Wrestlers swim laps last Wednesday for their practice at the Zamias Aquatic Center. They usually swim about 35 laps. The laps are one of three parts of their Wednesday workouts.

Justin Schmithorst, Sports Editor

Pitt-Johnstown wrestlers have among their weeks of four practices each  a swimming workout in the middle of three other running-dominated workouts. 

“It takes pressure off of the joints,” wrestling coach Pat Pecora said. “It uses every muscle in the body, and I’m always looking forward to do something different in the preseason.” 

According to Pecora, the swimming workouts are on Wednesdays, in the middle of the week, because it’s kinder to the body. 

“Monday, we run the track, Tuesday we do cross country and Thursday, it’s the ski slope,” Pecora said. 

Pecora said they get Friday and the weekend off. 

According to Pecora, he has been doing these swimming workouts in conjunction with a pool employee for about 30 years, or soon after the pool opened. 

The current employee is pool lifeguard Alex Popovich. 

According to Popovich, she has worked at the pool for the past three years, although this is her first in developing workouts for the wrestlers. 

“Swimming adds a new element of exercise to their typical workouts. Most people have difficulty keeping up with the workouts simply because they’re not used to it. It helps them work muscles that are generally not targeted as well,” Popovich said. 

Popovich said the workouts consist of around 35 laps, more conventional exercises such as pushups and pullups, and treading (keeping the body upright with one’s head above the water) .

Another exercise, according to Popovich, is treading with and without bricks. 

Pecora said  he likes using the bricks because they are a team bonding activity. 

“They need to rely on each other to keep the brick afloat or else it will sink,” Pecora said.

According to Popovich, the workouts are generally 45 minutes long. 

Senior Steve Edwards agreed that the swimming workouts are a good alternative to running, and  they are a relief for his joints. 

“I’ve had bad knees and hips for some time now, so being able to get a hard workout in without putting all of that stress on those areas is a huge bonus,” Edwards said. 

According to Edwards, the workout is a team-bonding activity, but so are all of the other practices that the team does. 

 “We’re all pretty competitive, so everyone’s trying to beat the guy in front of them or beside them no matter what kind of workout we do,” Edwards said. 

“Whatever is going to challenge me and push me the most is what I want to do,” Edwards said. 

Edwards’ teammate, senior Corey Falleroni, said he loves the swimming workouts because he is a skilled swimmer and enjoys the joint relief that swimming offers. 

“As far as joint relief, I feel that these workouts help a lot. After two days of running, your legs start to really get burnt out, and with this workout being in the middle of the week, it is perfect to help recover a little bit,” Falleroni said. 

Falleroni described  the team-bonding in the swimming workouts. 

“We have people who aren’t so good at swimming left alone treading, and we must pass around bricks and buckets of water while doing it. At some points, we are literally pulling each other up out of the water because kids are sinking,” Falleroni said.

Falleroni said that this is his favorite part of the workout because he finds it amusing to watch his teammates try the exercises. 

Junior wrestler Devin Austin said he finds the exercises to be difficult, but understands their value. 

“Personally, I like running when it’s nice outside, but, swimming is a good change of pace from that,” Austin said. 

According to Austin, like his teammates, the treading water exercise is a team-bonding activity.