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Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Tackle Tussey Mountain

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When fans come out to the Natatorium for competitions to see the hard work that the swimmers and divers have put in, most spectators understand that the practices involve repetitive laps of swimming back and forth and that the divers practice dive after dive on the boards. What many do not realize, however, is that the Penn State Swimming and Diving teams incorporate an intense dryland program early in the season to ensure the athletes are in the best shape.

The coaching staff took a new approach towards getting the swimmers and divers back in shape. To create a team-bonding atmosphere this past week, the athletes spent Thursday morning running up and down Tussey Mountain.

After early alarm clocks went off and a short commute to the mountain, the swimmers and divers were ready to start this new adventure at 6 a.m. Standing in front of Tussey Mountain, which has an elevation of roughly 2,700 feet, everyone was ready to conquer the task at hand. Mental toughness became a factor when they realized they were going to be running it four or five times.

Freshman Kevin Glenn was not sure what to expect going into this practice, but pushed through the difficult practice with the help of his teammates.

"Our mentality when we got to Tussey was that we were going to do this challenge no matter what and we were going to get through it together," Glenn said. "Afterwards we knew we had all tried hard and it felt good knowing that I helped push others to be able to run up the mountain five times. Coming together as a team like this is one of the biggest differences between club swimming and college swimming."

Senior and captain of the women's team, Amy Modglin had a similar take on the whole experience and thought this practice showed how much the women's team supports each other and will help the team in the future of this season.

"Overall, it was a great experience as a team," Modglin said. "Knowing that your teammates are always behind you is what climbing a mountain together showed us. It will definitely help us at the end of the season and will give us a lot of confidence going into the season."

As opposed to past years, the divers have been joining the swimmers in dryland practices to create more unity between the two teams. Sophomore diver Meredith Harbison has enjoyed the unity factor over the past couple of weeks.

"In past years, the divers and swimmers were separate," Harbison said. "We had our own circuits and dryland, but this year we are more of one team and are doing everything together. We are getting in good shape and everyone has been really supportive."

Harbison also noticed a strong team bond form after running the mountain with the swimmers.

"Some of the girls ran the mountain four times while the faster runners went up a fifth time to support the girls that were falling behind," Harbison said. "It really showed our team bond of not leaving anyone behind and we all cheered to try and keep everyone motivated."       

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