Football players go out for swim team
By GERRY STEELE
On the football field they look like these huge beings covered in plastic and metal.
In the swimming pool they're much less volatile looking in their swim trunks.
They in this case are Baker Swim Team members Jake McAlister, Jake Woolard and Cody Hensley. The trio were members of the Baker football team that advanced to the this past fall and now compete for the Baker swim team.
Both Jakes have been members of the football team for four seasons, and Hensley for two.
And despite the drills they have endured under the watchful eye of football coach Dave Johnson and his staff, the three young men say swimming drills are sometimes harder on their bodies.
"Swimming kind of works everything, especially your lungs," McAlister said. "It's physically harder than football, just without the contact."
"It's a lot more cardiovascular," Woolard said.
"Swimming gives you a better overall workout," Hensley said.
McAlister, a member of the swimming program for four years, is the veteran of the trio. The other two young men have been on the swim team for two years.
"I kind of help teach everybody how to make turns in the pool," he said. "But I haven't done that that much this year.
"Swimming is not an impact sport," McAlister said.
The burley senior has had to endure leg and shoulder injuries during his career, and that has hampered his successes.
"Any sport I do kind of messes up my shoulder," he said.
McAlister started swimming by taking swimming lessons at a young age.
"Almost since before I could walk my mom had me in swimming," he said.
McAlister sat out last season, as well as his junior seasons of football and baseball, after undergoing knee surgery. He said that almost did him in.
"I hated it," he said. "I couldn't stand being at the pool, at a football game, or at a baseball game. I just wanted to be on the field, and not being able to just drove me crazy."
He said swimming not only keeps him active, but in some sort of physical shape.
"If I were to just stop after football I'd probably just sit around and play video games," he said. "I would not be ready for baseball in the spring."
Woolard added that just as in football, where you have to be in top shape, swimmers also must be in shape.
"In swimming you find all the little muscles you didn't know you had," he said.
"Swimming is tough. Each separate workout in swimming is like a full day of football."
Hensley is the novice swimmer of the group.
"Last year was the first year I was in swimming," he said. "It helped strengthen me for baseball so much. It really helped my pitching."
"It makes every muscle just that much stronger," McAlister said.
The two Jakes challenge each other every practice.
"We push each other," Woolard said.
"I beat him, but not by much," McAlister said. "He's stronger in the 50, but then on the flip turns I beat him."
McAlister said you can't have any vanity when it comes to swimming and wearing the small racing swimsuits.
"When I first started I was really embarrassed to be up in front of people in a Speedo," he said. "Then after three or four meets I didn't care because I was winning."
Woolard said swimming has taught him a lot.
"It's taught me about being able to push myself further than I thought I could go. You don't compete against other swimmers so much as with yourself," he said.
"You learn discipline," McAlister said. "You have to be dedicated enough to push yourself."