Life in the fast lane with swimming siblings

“Whatever it takes, we’re willing to do it,” said Chris Morris.

Dedication and perseverance are not something the Morris kids lack. When USA Swimming announced its Top 10 Minnesota Swimmers in March 2018, all three siblings — Chris, Mary and Ella — made the list. Chris made top 10 in 10 categories including the 1650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley, for the age 15 group. Mary attained top 10 in the 200 backstroke for the age 13 group and Ella achieved top 10 in the 200 backstroke for the age 11 group. The top 10 list is based on the fastest times in each swim category/age group that are recorded throughout the season by Minnesota Swimming.

The three siblings swim for the Great Wolf Swim Team, a competitive club, in Fridley. The family lives in St. Cloud, so the Morris kids get their practice workouts sent to them by their swim team coach. Most of their training takes place Monday through Thursday at the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA and Community Aquatics Center, where they run through the practice workouts by themselves.

“I get unfocused easily at these swim practices,” admitted Ella. “But my older siblings help me stay concentrated and motivated.”

Staying focused on Fridays and Saturdays is easier when practicing with other members of the Great Wolf Swim Team and gives them extra bonding time as they stay in the Twin Cities with host families and teammates.

Taking this dedication a step further, the Morris kids teamed up with Exercise Physiologist Dustin Henkelman, a sports performance expert at Lifestyle Health. They met with him at Lifestyle Health once a week for 60 minutes for four weeks. Dustin coached them on a series of techniques and soon saw improvement in agility, starts off the block and neuromuscular responses.

“The Morris kids are hard workers, disciplined and eager to learn. I enjoyed coaching them and saw the benefits of them competing against each other. They have come a long way in just a four-week program. My advice for them would be to keep working hard,” advised Dustin.

All the kids noticed an improvement in their swimming as well.

“After working with Dustin, we dropped two to three seconds in times, which is a lot in swimming. When it comes down to it, dedication and hard work really pay off,” noted Mary. The siblings plan to keep training and make little improvements to continue to get their race times down.

Just like the Morris siblings, all athletes, sports teams and even weekend warriors can take advantage of Lifestyle Health’s group classes or one-on-one consultations for a variety of sports performance services, including, video analysis, sports dietitian, body composition and sports training. Learn more about Sports Training.