South Florida Aquatic Club Goes Virtual With Training During COVID-19 Lockdown

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, April 6, 2020—After a dress rehearsal on Friday, South Florida Aquatic Club age group swimmers went virtual on Monday to maintain their health and fitness during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The brainchild of veteran age group coach Rose Lockie, the dryland sessions for Groups A and B were fun, challenging and educational. Lockie’s sessions are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until the lockdown is lifted.

Coach Andrea Golding will hold sessions for the Dippers and Meteorites on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Lockie used an I.M. FIT sprint workout from U.S. Olympian and nine-time world champion Katie Hoff of CG Sports Network while incorporating her own ideas to conform to her swimmers.

Lockie watches Hoff’s daily online workout broadcasts, takes notes and researches before devising her own lesson plans. She first tries the ideas out on her son Travis, who joined her on Monday’s virtual broadcast, to see if they work or not.

By the looks of Monday’s two virtual classes, the swimmers seem to be enjoying the virtual training.

There were a variety of exercises and drills, from jumping jacks, burpees and squats to planks, starts, stretching and streamlining. To start each segment, Lockie, who coached from her home, started out clapping her hands to start a drill but could not be heard by her swimmers so whistled instead.

“Are you out of your mind,” joked Travis, who was sitting beside when she started whistling. “The whistling is better, isn’t it? Lockie asked her swimmers. Despite a brief hearing loss, Travis helped his mom demonstrate a few of the more intricate drills.

The swimmers, working out in their homes and backyards, also seemed to enjoy Lockie’s feedback and critiques. Even some of the swimmers’ dogs and cats were getting into the act.

“Let’s go Mariana….Juan, what are you doing, you’ve just been disqualified…that’s it, keep going….keep going Sophia…keep going Sarah…come on guys, this is something we have done a 1,000 times…good job Pilar, she’s got the balance…did everyone understand that…this squat position is for ankle flexibility which is what you need for swimming….it’s a stretch, not a big deal…get those knees all the way up, please…Sophia, if you keep going around in circles you’re going to get dizzy…please remember your hips do not touch the ground…Benji, that’s it, you got it….keep going, keep going, keep going…guys it’s only 40 seconds…very nice job guys.”

There was also a “who could hold the longest plank challenge” at the end of each session. Sarah Vasquez won Group A in 4:38 and Matthew Jimenez won Group B in 4:30.

Lockie also made sure to ask her swimmers about their home schooling and how they were doing with their homework stressing the importance of education during the lockdown.

“I was looking for different stuff I thought would be fun and beneficial for the kids that was all related to swimming,” Lockie said. “CG Sports Network runs something every day. I adjust them slightly for the kids. It’s been fun doing it actually.”

Lockie uses Zoom video conferencing to enable her to see each swimmer working out while the swimmers can also see Lockie and interact with her.

There is an eight swimmer-to-one coach ratio, adhering to USA Swimming guidelines. For the opening session, Lockie had 16 swimmers and another coach and for the second session seven swimmers with Lockie.

“I think the kids are enjoying it,” Lockie said. “They all know it’s not mandatory, it’s optional. All but two of my swimmers signed up. The dryland training is really beneficial. The coaches need to stay connected with the kids. We’re all working together.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at