Recent Walter Johnson High School graduate Garrett Powell has been swimming since he was 2. However, the future Georgia Bulldog has taken an unorthodox approach to training this summer that has paid dividends for him both in and out of the water.
“At the beginning of this summer, I just promised myself that I’d have a little more fun than I have my past few summers,” said Powell, 17. “So instead of swimming twice a day and sleeping the rest of the day, I decided I was going to go out and do stuff with my friends and just have a good summer.”
Despite the more laid-back approach to swimming, Powell has still been putting in daily work in the pool in addition to trying out different methods of training.
“I’m not just sitting and doing nothing,” he added. “I wake up every morning and lift weights for about an hour. Then I run three miles and later in the day I go for about a 40-minute to an hour swim. I’m just doing cross fit training now. I’m lifting, running and biking. It seems to be working for me. My body feels fine.”
This new training style that Powell has taken to swimming has already benefited him in one of the biggest events of the summer. At Saturday’s Montgomery County Swim League Divisional/Relay Meet, he broke two pool records at Westleigh Swim Club in the boys 15-18 age group: the 100-meter backstroke (57.22 seconds) and the 100 freestyle (53.34).
He also posted meet-best times of 1 minute, 53.53 seconds in the 200 medley relay and 1:00.28 in the 100 individual medley.
“My approach this summer to training has definitely benefited me,” Powell said. “I feel more motivated to get back in the water and I’m having an amazing summer. It also gives me a clearer mind.
“Like Saturday, I went in and had my fastest times all year. A clearer mind definitely helps. What I’ve been doing may help physically, but it definitely helps mentally.”
Putting swimming on the back burner has also given Powell more time to hang out with his friends and enjoy his spare time. He has rekindled his old interest in archery and goes to the pool for something other than training: fun.
“I have time so see my friends and get to hang out with people,” Powell said. “That’s why I really let swimming take a back seat this summer because I’ve been doing a bunch of different things like archery, bike riding and going to the pool just for fun. It has been a lot of fun.”
It’s not hard to understand why Powell would want to change up his routine after you take a look at his typical day during this past school year.
“I would be get up at around 4:30, eat a little something, get to the pool at 4:45, swim until about 6:15 then get out and try to grab something to eat real quick,” he said.
“Then I go to school, go back to the pool after school instead of going home and swim from 3 to 6 [p.m.] with dry lands [training] included. Then I go home, finish my homework and basically pass out.”
Next school year his routine will likely look different since he’ll be attending the University of Georgia on a swimming scholarship. At Georgia, he simply looks to improve and enjoy his potentially last four years of swimming.
“I just want to move up the food chain,” Powell said. “I’m not going to be the fastest guy there at all but hopefully by the end of my freshman year I’ll make a name for myself.”