Simone Chapman likes to the same thing on the night before every meet.
“I watch videos of Olympic jumpers, old and new,” the senior jumper said. “I try to see the exact steps they use, their technique that makes them so good. That has really helped me out in my career, mimicking the great jumpers.”
Chapman is one of Temple’s seven seniors this season. Most of them have been dealing with injuries that have affected the team’s results.
The plethora of injuries can be seen at any workout. Coach Elvis Forde sets up a workout for each group of his athletes, sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers. But only about 75 percent can participate in the full plan. Others either have to stop midway, not participate at the same level as their teammates or do a different regimen.
Chapman was one of the few who people who finished everything Forde laid out for her to do at Wednesday’s practice.
“It has been a real up-and-down outdoor season for the girls,” Forde said. “It has been hard for anyone to get a rhythm going when a few girls miss practice here, and others there. It has been a somewhat disappointing season overall.”
Chapman said she would only do one thing differently if she could re-do her career: continue to achieve personal bests throughout her senior season in the triple jump. She set personal records almost every season, indoor and outdoor, until her senior campaign.
She has two guaranteed meets left in her Temple career. Only the Penn Relays and the American Athletic Conference championship remain unless she qualifies for the NCAA East Regional. She is hoping to end her senior season strong.
Chapman is short on opportunities to break her personal triple jump record of 11.92 meters, but she hopes her pre-meet routine can push her over the top. Chapman’s 11.54-meter triple jump at Saturday’s Morgan State Legacy Invitational in Baltimore was her best this season.
“With the year almost over, we’re pretty much done with all of the conditioning, especially with the injuries we’re dealing with,” Chapman said. “But now we’re just really focused on runway work, which is really heavy on technique in these workouts, making sure every step is as precise as it can be.”
Even if Chapman doesn’t break her own record, she has come to terms with this being her last season of competing in track & field after being on a team for the last 12 years. She is an environmental studies major and wants to work in government in either policy, environmental law or geographical information systems.
Chapman hasn’t ruled out stepping away from track completely. After establishing her professional career, she thinks she could help coach kids and help them achieve their goals like she did.
“I’ve always thought about doing some type of coaching,” Chapman said. “I think I would want to coach little kids early on when they just start running track.”
Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @_kevinschaeffer.