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Published: Friday, 8/31/2012

SEAL training bringing Rockets together


Dominique Buckley figures to be frightened this morning when he steps into a lake for some non-traditional athletic training.

"I can't swim," the University of Toledo senior basketball player said. "If I can't put my feet down I'll panic."

His aversion to deep bodies of water not withstanding, Buckley is enjoying working out this week under the direction of a Navy SEAL. He and his teammates, along with their coaches, have labored through two grueling sessions consisting of, among other activities, log carrying, tug of war, and using the blade of a boat oar to carry a raft above their heads.

The objective to all of this is building mental toughness, leadership, and communication -- areas of weakness on the team, according to coach Tod Kowalczyk.

"There's nothing we can't do physically, but as a team we're coming together and helping each other, from the strongest person to the weakest person," Buckley said.

The UT women's team is participating in drills independent of the men.

Giving orders is John McGuire, who spent 10 years as a SEAL and is now the lead instructor of the Virginia-based organization, SEAL Team Physical Training. His services were recommended to Kowalczyk by Indiana coach Tom Crean and Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart.

"It's been one of the best things we've ever done," said Kowalczyk, who has braved forward in drills after tweaking his hamstring Monday. "I can't say enough good things about it."

The location of the third and final work out is Maumee Bay State Park, where the Rockets will convene at 6:15 a.m. Plans include holding their breath under water and using their collective strength and smarts to flip over boats.

Wearing a life preserver won't assuage Buckley's fear of the water.

"Absolutely not," he replied.

KONERMAN LEAVES: Director of basketball operations Brad Konerman is leaving his post and moving to the Cincinnati area where his wife works. Konerman came to UT under former coach Gene Cross.

"I can't thank Brad enough for the service he's given this institution and our program," Kowalczyk said. "He helped me transition my first two years."

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