August 22, 2012 • CoachingSwimming

Jennifer Pollnow: 24-Hour Relay Builds Team And Character

PollnowJennifer Pollnow,Girls Swimming


Coaches love team-building exercises.

With high school programs that involve athletes competing at multiple levels, they help promote team unity, develop leadership and increase community awareness of the sport. If coaches put together an event that might also provide a little out-of-season conditioning and help accomplish a greater goal, all the better.

The annual 24-hour relay held by the Arrowhead girls swimming team manages all three goals.

This is the fifth year for the relay, according to Jennifer Pollnow, the varsity coach. The triple-threat nature of the event is no accident. The event commemorates a swimmer who lost her life in an accident. Some of the money raised in the event is used to fund a $1,000 scholarship, but there are other goals.

“We stress the citizenship angle of it,” says Pollnow. “In addition to the scholarship, we raise money and accept food donations for those in need in the community. It’s a good fundraising event, a good team-bonding event, but I think it also teaches the kids some life lessons.”

The event incorporates some team goals. The first year, Pollnow says the theme was “Swim To The Nat.” The Nat is the University of Wisconsin’s Natatorium, site of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s State Swimming And Diving Championships.

“We calculated how many miles it was from here to Madison and that’s how far we swam,” Pollnow says. “Every year we have a different theme.”

Swimmers sign up on a first-come, first-served basis, then collect pledges and donations. Pollnow says swimmers quickly learn to sign up early.

“Everyone is expected to participate and if you don’t sign up early, well – let’s just say it can be tough to jump in that cold water at 4 o’clock in the morning,” she says.

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