Hebert and Kareem dive into Cougars’ first swim meet

She is beauty, she is grace, she’ll kick your ass in a race. Arthur Images

With a near-nine-year school record broken already, this team isn’t shy about setting the bar high

The University of Regina Cougars swim team has just completed their first swim meet of this season. The Carillon wanted to take you along and tell you about how it went for two players to get you ready for the upcoming season. The first player to introduce is Taylor Hebert, who has been involved with swimming as a sport for nine years now. She is studying at the university for a degree in Kinesiology and Human Kinetics with a minor in Psychology. We interviewed Kareem Mohammed as well, who has been swimming for 17 years and has been a competitive swimmer for 10 years. Kareem is currently studying Business Administration as a Finance major.

How long have you been an athlete for the Cougars, and what type of swimming do you take part in?

Hebert is a rookie this year as a competitive swimmer with the Cougars swim team.

Kareem has been competing since 2019, and competes in distance/IM events.

What is your favourite stroke of swim, and can you describe it for the readers?

Heberts mentioned “my best events are 800 Freestyle, 1500 Freestyle, 200 Backstroke, and open water events.”

Kareem states “My favourite stroke of swim is the freestyle, front crawl. The freestyle stroke is swum in a horizontal position, with the body facing down. The body rolls from one side to the other, always turning to the side of the arm that is currently pulling in the water. The head remains in a neutral position, face down, except when breathing.”

What is the hardest stroke to learn/utilize, and can you describe why it is difficult?

Hebert said “Distance swimming events are the most difficult events to train for because you need to have a lot of stamina, which requires putting in many meters in practice everyday. It is also difficult to learn to pace yourself in distance races while still going fast.”

Kareem thinks that “The hardest stroke to learn is the breaststroke. It is difficult because it is the slowest stroke, and it uses most of the energy. Also, it’s the hardest stroke to do correctly because of the timing between arms and legs.”

What does a typical week look like for training on the Cougars swim team?

Kareem states a specific schedule has to be followed: “A typical week for Cougar’s swim team is really busy. We train six days a week. We have to swim all the mornings, lift three times after the morning swims, and swim three times in the afternoon. So, a total of nine swims per week plus three times lifting added to our school schedule.”

Hebert manages the training schedule as “I train in the water nine times per week, twice a day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:15-8:45 am and 2:00-4:30 pm, once a day on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-4:30 pm, and Saturday from 7:00-9:15 am. Then weights three times a week Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 10:00-11:00 am.”

The Cougars swim team had their first meet this weekend; how did that go for each of you personally?

For Hebert, “The first meet of the season over the weekend went really well for me. It was our first swim meet in over 18 months, and I was able to qualify for the USPORTS Championships and break a team record that had stood since 2013. I was excited to see where I am at with my training, and now that I have already qualified for USPORTS I can focus on training and preparing for that competition which takes place in February.”

The meet went well for Kareem also: “I had some good swims, and was able to win three events of four.”

What is the main goal for the Cougars this season?

Hebert and Kareem say “I think our main goal for the season is to qualify as many Cougar swimmers for U SPORTS as we can.” and Herbert is already one of them!

What are some good qualities that your team captains have? Or, if you are a team captain, what are your good qualities?

Hebert herself is the rookie for this year and said “I was named the women’s team captain this year, which is an honour. I try to lead by example by consistently working hard at practice and supporting my teammates.”

Kareem is also the team captain. “I am the men’s team captain for this season. It’s my first time being a team captain, but I have learned many qualities from the previous team captains in the Cougars and back home. Such as lead by example, inspire all the swimmers around me, have a positive relationship with all my teammates and coaches, embody the core values of the team, and step up when the team needs me.”

It is commonly heard that swimming is the number one cardio workout to do. Can you explain why you think that is?

Hebert mentioned “Swimming uses both aerobic and anaerobic systems. Not only are you having to hold your breath for part of each of the strokes, (you’re) pushing your body at a very high level which gives the cardiovascular benefits.”

Kareem states “Yes, swimming and running are considered the number one cardio workouts to do. But swimming is an excellent way to work your entire body and cardiovascular system. An hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running, without all the impact on your bones and joints. Also, one of the biggest benefits of swimming is that it truly works the entire body, head-to-toe. Swimming increases heart rate without stressing body, tones muscle, builds strength, and builds endurance.”

What is your favourite type of swimming to watch when watching the Summer Olympics?

Hebert’s favourites are “All sports during the Summer Olympics, but my favourite sport to watch is competitive swimming. I enjoy watching all of the competitive swimming events, they are all exciting. The most exciting is when the Canadian swimmers are in the finals and trying to win medals.”

Kareem enjoys “(Watching) the men’s 1500-metre freestyle event, and the women’s 800-metre freestyle event.”

There you go! You now know how the first meet went for the Cougars, and you know their main goal for this year – to have as many candidates for USPORTS as possible – and it seems like they’re well on their way.


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