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The Kentucky swimming and diving team participated in team-building exercises this week. (Charlie Healy, UK Athletics) The Kentucky swimming and diving team participated in team-building exercises this week. (UK Athletics)
A day before the first official practice of the 2013-14 season, the University of Kentucky swimming and diving team participated in a day of team-building exercises.

Led by Jason Cummins - the director of the UK Athletics Impact Leadership Program - and staff members from the ROTC program, the Wildcats joined together to solve mental and physical challenges and obstacles.

"It was great to get all the team together, with such a large and diverse team," UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. "The best time of the year is at the beginning, to bring everyone together, we don't often have that opportunity while we're training, so it was a good way to start out our training. We want to thank Jason Cummins and the ROTC staff for helping us out."

Swim-TeamBuilding3.jpg The purpose of the team building activities was to get the team to think and work together. Each station was different, and the lessons learned on each event varied. Thought processes or methods didn't carry over from station to station. The team learned to move together and communicate better on various exercises.
 
"I think what we got out of the team building exercises was firstly that we learned a lot about ourselves, what our strengths and weaknesses are," senior Maclin Simpson said. "Most importantly though, we learned about each other. We learned how to get to know one another in order to find out our teammates' strengths and weaknesses so that we could utilize them in order to come together.

Swim-TeamBuilding1.jpg "There was a station that involved a circle with a white line around it. There were strategically placed cinder blocks and we had three wooden beams, all different sizes. We had to get everyone across the pit, just using the beams without touching the grass. We had to figure out which beam to use, how to pass it around and how to get across. The most important thing about that was communication, how to communicate effectively with one another. That's incredibly important in a team sport."
 
Other stations included pulling a teammate on a tarp for a strength and endurance event and two puzzles with different shaped pieces of wood.

The goal was to get the team working and thinking together before they begin the season Sept. 25 at Georgia.  The 2013-14 campaign, which lasts six months, will be a demanding test for the 'Cats. The team-building exercises before the season began hopefully will make that road to March a little easier.

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