Bailey McKeon ’22
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Bill Delongis describes himself as a “barbell based human.” Delongis’ reality was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since access to barbells began to diminish with the emergence of this virus. Dedicated to his athletes and to the progression toward perfecting the athletic functioning of the human body, Delongis, with the help of his colleagues, delivered his first five-week, all-team inclusive, COVID-19 restriction-based workout program to Trinity athletes preparing for whatever shape their sports take this year.
“This program is more like slow cooking,” Delongis said. “Right now, I’m preparing every team to be ready for practice. I’m not worried about any games or even a season because no season, for any sport, has been announced yet. We are taking our time a little bit more with the progressions.”
The slower progressions of the program are also attributed to the importance of prioritizing health and safety as we continue to experience the effects of the pandemic, “this year there are a lot more things I have to juggle to make sure the student athletes are safe during their workouts.” In past years, Delongis has worked with the athletic trainers to design return-to-play programs for injured athletes. This year, however, Delongis has been challenged to design a workout program, universal to all athletes, that accounts for the return-to-play for student athletes who have had COVID-19, been in quarantine, and/or have faced limited access to weight rooms since last March.
The workouts of the program, which intend to carry athletes from Sept. 14 to Oct. 17, take place primarily outside in order to better comply with COVID-19 regulations. As a result, the workouts are more bodyweight-based or require minimal equipment, and Delongis stated that he has “never done so much without a barbell… I’ve realized just how much we can get done with bodyweight alone.”
Additionally, students attend the workouts alongside athletes from various other teams on campus rather than their direct teammates, and Delongis found this to be a very refreshing sight, “I’ve never before seen the athletes interact with other teams the way they have been this semester… It’s been special to see more friendships be created via the weight room or workout space.”
When creating the program, Delongis focused primarily on designing challenging workouts that would surprise student athletes with how much they are capable of achieving despite the restrictions they face this school year. “I wanted the kids to say ‘Wow, I can’t believe we are getting to do this much while the restrictions are so tough.” The program is currently suspended because of Trinity’s recent transition to code yellow and, now, code orange.
Despite this, Delongis has celebrated a very successful start to the semester as strength and conditioning training has been taking place consistently when the campus has been able to foster a safe environment for organized workouts. Delongis credits his successes this semester to his amazing staff: “by far this is the best staff I’ve ever had… They make it so much more enjoyable and easier to navigate because I trust them to get things done and they take the initiative on their own. They bring an unbelievable amount of energy despite the very grueling schedule that we have right now.”
Each member of Delongis’ team is coaching nine one-hour sessions every day. “Although those nine hours are much more taxing than ever before, my staff is absolutely dominating… Without them, none of this would have been possible,” said Delongis.
The department hopes to begin conducting his new programs as planned on Oct. 19, but is prepared to re-adjust and “do a little improv as we go” if the campus remains in code orange.