Life of an Athlete Training Amidst COVID

Lindsey Lewis, Entertainment Editor

The alarm sounds, flashing the time of 6:00 a.m. The day has begun and practice will be starting soon, leaving no time to hit snooze. Barely having time to grab breakfast or pack her bag before heading out, the student athlete begins her day before the sun rises. Familiar cars and friendly faces fill the parking lot; however, everyone is wearing a mask, and practices are no longer the same. Before school, the usual Starbucks stop has been replaced by a drive back home, sitting in bed, waiting for the first Zoom to begin. The seemingly never-ending quarantine leaves most at home all day, but fortunately for athletes, some can remain practicing their sports, offering a small escape from reality. 

Senior Lindsay Hemming has been swimming competitively at Orinda Aquatics (OA) for five years, and she plans on continuing to swim next year in college at Pepperdine University. “COVID-19 has changed our practices a lot actually and I wasn’t able to have practice for four months when it first began,” Hemming said. When the initial lockdown began in March, most sports were shut down entirely and had no plans of opening in the near future. “During that time I ran on the treadmill and did dryland workouts at home by myself. It was sort of a weird adjustment but I’m glad I stayed in shape,” Hemming said. 

Many aspects of OA practices have adjusted to adhere to COVID-19 regulations. “We still have practice everyday for two hours except for Saturday’s. Now we have to wear a mask when we arrive and leave and also can only have two people per lane, one on each side to make sure we are socially distanced,” Hemming said. One extreme difference this season is the absence of swim meets, which Hemming used to have at least once or twice a month in addition to the high school season. 

Hemming committed to swim at Pepperdine University in late October after visiting and connecting with coaches. “I had a lot of Zoom meetings with the coach and girls on the team currently which helped me make my decision,” Hemming said. She hopes to be able to compete in the fall semester and her first season as a collegiate athlete. “They released the meet schedule for next year so I’m hoping the season will be somewhat normal,” Hemming said. 

Even though her routine is no longer the same, Hemming gets to escape the indoors and staring at a screen by swimming for at least two hours a day, a sense of normalcy for her. As she packs her bags and heads to Malibu for school next year, she hopes to  leave the mask behind, but if not, there is still hope for  n opportunity to continue what she loves to do.