The Training Arena - Q&A with Laura Sogar
The latest installment of our series about training features Arena athlete Laura Sogar.
Leave a question or comment for Laura below by May 5 11:59PM, and you will be entered to win a pair of the Arena COBRA goggles.
1) We all know getting in the pool can be a struggle some days, what keeps you motivated on days like this?
I will be the first to admit how hard getting up for those 5:30 morning workouts can be, but thinking about my competition and if they are working hard that morning always gets me motivated to make sure I am not losing out on any training time. It helps that I always end up having fun with my teammates once I am at workout and any of that initial desire not to go is quickly forgotten when we are laughing during warmup.
2) What does the inside of your swim bag look like- do you have a favorite practice suit, type of goggle, or training accessory?
I really really love my arena challenge back suit, I wear them every single day at workout and they’re super comfortable and flattering. As far as equipment goes, I cannot do without my kick board. Kicking is a huge part of my stroke so I spend a lot of quality time with my board doing kick sets. I also am getting really into yoga, so at a meet you can often see me with my yoga block stretching out before warmup.
3) Talk about any pre-meet rituals. Do you have a favorite food, song, or stretch that you do prior to a big race day?
I don’t have any strict rituals that I follow, but I do eat a ton at swim meets and I sleep like its my job. If it’s a big meet one thing I do like to do a few days before is get my toenails painted a bright color with my teammates. It’s a nice relaxing way to have fun together before it’s race time.
4) How do you stay in shape outside of the water?
After I finished school and my schedule opened up a lot more I decided to get more serious about my yoga practice. I did it on and off through college, but now I go several times a week which has helped me to relax and clear out the long days of training while gaining strength and flexibility. I also lift, run and have recently added pilates to my schedule. It is keeping me really busy but it is a super fun way to get strong.
5) Talk about your NCAA battle in the 200 yard breaststroke, what did it take to get there and claim the title for Texas?
I was up against a really talented field so it was an intense experience. I knew I had done the training I needed to win and that the only thing stopping me was going to be my own mind. Seeing my teammates on the side of the pool deck cheering for me gave me the confidence boost I needed to go out aggressively and finish hard. It was a blast and one of my best memories from my career so far-- made even sweeter knowing what I had to go through in order to deserve it.
6) What was it like being a team captain at the World University Games in Russia?
Being a team captain at a competition like the World University Games was one of the biggest honors I’ve received. We had an incredible group of athletes who are all so talented, so it was a blessing to even be competing with them. To get a chance to help lead them and help in anyway was tremendous and I am so thankful for the experience. I mostly enjoyed helping the newcomers appreciate the legacy that USA Swimming has-- whenever we walk on deck together other countries take notice because of the powerhouse that our country is in the water. I tried my best to help people become comfortable with that attention, and to even draw strength from it, because I know that I do every time I step behind a block with the US flag on my cap.
7) What’s next? Tell us your goals for the next couple of years.
Well ultimately I would like to make the Olympic team in 2016. To be able to represent the USA on the ultimate athletic stage has been a lifelong dream of mine, and if I do get blessed with that opportunity I want to be ready to show the world what America is made of. Until then I am training and working really hard to cultivate a lifestyle that will maximize my performance in the pool. I have been improving my nutrition and recovery routines because every little thing matters in a sport that counts hundredths. Outside of the pool I am applying to graduate school next fall, so I hope to begin continuing my education next year.
8) What’s your favorite way to pass the time outside of the swimming pool?
Austin has some amazing restaurants, so I really enjoy getting together with friends for dinner and talking about our weeks. I am also a huge animal lover and I volunteer extensively for our local animal shelter Austin Pets Alive!, which has an incredible cat rescue program. I feed and care for the animals there and also foster neonatal kittens, which are found by animal control without their mothers and need to be bottle fed until they are able to eat on their own. I take care of them for several weeks at my home until they are ready to be adopted, then I see them off to a good home. It’s one of the most rewarding feelings and I always have kittens to play with, so it’s a pretty sweet deal!
Don't forget to leave a question or comment for Laura in the comments below by May 5 11:59PM for a chance to win a pair of the Arena COBRA goggles!Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: email@example.comLaurasogs
7 years ago.I try and eat healthy as much as I can!! Lots of fruits and vegetables but I won't say no to icecream on occasion :)Laurasogs
7 years ago.you're awesome!!Laurasogs
7 years ago.Have fun with the sport and enjoy the time with your teammates! When you have a group of people all working hard together and enjoying each others company at the same time then amazing results can happen!Dan Ciobanu
7 years ago.How do you overcome a bad/disappointing race and how do you get yourself together for the next race ?Laurasogs
7 years ago.Positive self talk is really key for that, if I have a bad 100 instead of writing the whole meet off I sometimes try and think ok I'm not feeling super sprinty this meet but my 200 will be awesome. This is one of the hardest parts of swimming for me and a lot of people and it takes practice to have good mental stability going into a meetLaurasogs
7 years ago.haha oh gosh I don't know! Every day is pretty awesome last weekend I went hiking and paddle boarding through Texas hill country which was a pretty great dayMegan
7 years ago.What has been the hardest part of your swimming career and how did you overcome it?Laurasogs
7 years ago.Missing making a team or a cut by a small margin (I missed qualifying for worlds by .1 last summer) is always really really hard but I used it as a huge motivator in training. Once you've felt that disappointment you never want to feel it again. It's great fuel now to get through hard workouts!Laurasogs
7 years ago.I LOVE the pool in Irvine where nationals will be this summer, swimming outside is always a real treatTerri
7 years ago.Sleeping doesn't always come easy for my daughter even after a good, long work out. What helps you get the rest you need?Laurasogs
7 years ago.I had trouble with insomnia when I was young as well, it got better with age but breathing exercises and even yoga (that helps me now) can be used to get relaxed and settled before bed! Rest is sooo important to this sport especially with our early morning practicesMiranda
7 years ago.I have been swimming for nine years and have had my shoulder problems for almost six. Recently my coach had added more exercises for me to do outside of practice and it was motivating to read about how hard work can pay off. And! He also added more breaststroke to my practices to build up my back...but I'm a backstroker!! :)Laurasogs
7 years ago.Sounds like your coach might be looking to put you in some IM events with all these strokes developing! and I am very glad to have been motivating, hopefully if you work hard your shoulders will get strong and stop hurting!Sarah
7 years ago.Such a great idea using yoga to improve strength and flexibility for swimming! Love the volunteering part of this interview. Great job Laura!Laurasogs
7 years ago.Thanks Sarah!!! Yoga is such an awesome tool for swimmers and non swimmers alike!Laurasogs
7 years ago.At a meet I will usually swim something long and straight to work out any kinks then kick for a while then do drills and pace about 1800 in total. Then lots of stretching out of the pool to get everything loosened, warm, and ready to race!Laurasogs
7 years ago.Thanks!! I will certainly try :)Laurasogs
7 years ago.I really love the arena goggles, the cobras in specific are pretty good! I hope you win them!Missy Hodgson
7 years ago.It's so inspiring for my daughter to read about women who have worked so hard for their goals!Laurasogs
7 years ago.Thanks Missy!! One of my favorite things about swimming is it teaches children the value of hard work and how honest devotion to something can yield amazing results, there are no shortcuts!Meghan ODonnell
7 years ago.What is your typical meal plan before and after practice? competition days?Laurasogs
7 years ago.I try and eat a large healthy meal with protein and carbs a few hours before workout followed by a smaller snack closer to it so I have enough fuel to be powerful through the whole time. I don't have much trouble swimming with a full stomach so I do pretty much the same at competitions, the worst thing I can be at a meet is hungry!Laurasogs
7 years ago.I am always thinking about my technique even during easy swimming which gives me something to focus on even during a boring set. having awesome coaches who keep you on track helps as well!Cassidy
7 years ago.Breast stroke is my best stroke too! What out of the water exercise do you do to strengthen your upper body?Laurasogs
7 years ago.Yay!! Welcome to the breastsrtoke alliance! My team does a lot of pullups to strengthen our arms and our weight program includes a lot of lifting that strengthens our backs which is so important for swimming. Once you're old enough weights can be a great addition into a exercise routine!Christopher Balogh
7 years ago.How do you recommend avoiding shoulder pain? I've dealt with the feeling of a shoulder strain (mainly my left) for years where it feels strained during certain exercises (mostly chest flys). It's never been a major issue but has really been acting up with swimming.Laurasogs
7 years ago.In myself I've usually found that anytime I was getting strained feelings in my shoulders or knees it was a result of the surrounding muscles being really tight and pulling on those ligaments causing pain. Stretching, foam rolling, yoga, or massage could possibly help loosen the area up and let your joints work freely, plus they all feel good to do! Hope you feel better!Laurasogs
7 years ago.I'm not really a backstroker but I am great friends with some of the best backstrokers in the world and they always emphasize core strength (so lots of ab exercises) and a REALLLLY strong kick! so work those kick sets! good luck!Sydney Tunell
7 years ago.At swim meets I usually cool down after my race, but I'm thinking of just staying in the water and swimming (not fast just casual swimming) I don't know if that would help or hinder me in my races. Then I also am thinking about stretching after practice and swim meets I was wondering if that might help with soreness the next day or what might help with that.Laurasogs
7 years ago.Cooling down after a race is always advisable and some swimmers like to stay in much longer then others! Once you feel like your no longer in any pain and that your muscles aren't aching anymore you can probably stop swimming but staying in and keeping your muscles loose isn't a bad thing either! And YES stretch! Especially at a young age getting a good stretching routine is so important to avoid injury and keep good range of motion! I highly recommend and I'm sure your coach will as wellLaurasogs
7 years ago.haha well I started off the same as any age group swimmer working at making zones, then sectionals, jrs, nationals, etc. I would say make season goals for yourself that are attainable with hard work and raise the bar each time you achieve them, baby steps eventually add up!Sarah Ciobanu
7 years ago.At what age did you start swimming? Was breastroke always your favorite stroke ?Laurasogs
7 years ago.I started swimming on a team at 5 and I was a backstroker because I loved being able to breathe all I wanted! However I couldn't swim in a straight line down the pool so eventually my coaches decided I should do breaststroke instead hahaChris Ciobanu
7 years ago.I look very awkward when I swim breastroke. My coach says that my shoulders look collapsed. What can I do to improve my shoulder position while swimming breastroke ?Laurasogs
7 years ago.More than likely it sounds like you might be letting your elbows drop too early in your pull, this can collapse your shoulders sometime and make you look really low in the water. Work on getting a good catch in the water almost as if you were pulling a beach ball under each arm so that all the water is getting pulled instead of your arm just slipping through. It will probably be really hard at first because you have to use way more muscles but it will help hopefully! good luck!Laurasogs
7 years ago.Thank you! I hope I make it also :) and it's hard to answer that without seeing what you're doing but stretching out of the water and having proper technique can go a long way to avoiding hurting your shoulders!Catalina Tamis
7 years ago.What type of dry land will help me improve my breastroke ?Laurasogs
7 years ago.Squats are so important to breaststroke, anything you can do to strengthen your legs!!!Add a Comment
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