A Postcard from India

HELLO! NAMASTE!

Dani Schulkin here, fresh off the plane from New Delhi where I’ve been for the past month and a half. This trip has been really wonderful and I’m so grateful to HWSD alum, Helen Pitchik, and the Duda family for adopting me for the duration of the stay. I don’t want to imagine what the trip would have been like without them, but I do know that it wouldn’t have been filled with anywhere near the amount of warmth and love!

Conducting independent thesis research in Delhi was definitely challenging, particularly as a woman. Figuring out how to get from one place to another safely, connecting with interviewees, and navigating the infamous bureaucracy of India were all learning experiences. But, all in all, it was a very successful trip! I quickly became a fan of the women’s section of the Delhi metro. The quiet underbelly of the metro system was such a clash with the roar of the streets above. And, by the end of my stay, I felt empowered and surprisingly comfortable while walking down the streets, hailing autos, and navigating the city proper. Hey, it’s not always easy when there are free-roaming cows in the way.

Of course, I didn’t only stay in Delhi. Helen and I hitched up to Nepal for a weekend to visit Pokhara and Kathmandu. Many pictures to come. I also had the opportunity to visit Mumbai as well as some towns and villages nearby Delhi. I’ve checked the Taj Mahal and sleeping outside on the roof of a village off my bucket list!

For now, I’m looking forward to getting back in shape and synthesizing the research I’ve collected. My family is also gearing up to move to a suburb of San Francisco in two weeks – so, friends from Cali, help a girl out and show her around?

Lots and lots of love,

Dani
My 15 minutes of fame in the local newspaper! Check out that method of transportation...

My 15 minutes of fame in the local newspaper! Check out that method of transportation...

With Helen Pitchik, HWSD '12

Postcard from Perú

Hello from Perú!! Steph Ferrell writing to you from a humble apartment situated on the border of the Miraflores and Barranco Districts here in Lima, one of which is known for its beautiful view of “El Mar” (aka The Pacific Ocean, which I run along every other morning — yes, Steph and Chris, I am working out) and the other known for its young “discoteca” scene (but I’m having fun too). Not only is my location great, but my host mom falls nothing short of fantastic herself. Her name is Frenci and she is one of my best friends here. She has two sons that share the room across from me, however I do not see them much as they both have work, school, and “novias”. She also has a friend that comes over often named Nancy (they call her Nancy Enana – which in Spanish means “Nancy The Dwarf”, because she’s short – offensive nicknames don’t really exist here, they’re just all considered endearing…). The first time I met her she complimented me on my eyebrows and then moved on to ask me no less than 50 questions that ranged from “Where do you live in the United States?” to “Is there poverty in America?” to “Do you drink water?”.

Miraflores - I pass through this park (Parque Amor) when I run in the mornings

Frenci cooks for me and gives me a beso before bed each night as she switches between wishing me “buenas noches” to sometimes just saying “byeeeeeee”. She speaks a bit of English, which has been helpful when we’re really struggling to communicate (and by we I mean I). She has been the one who has taught me the most important things about the city and was also there for me when I came home a little shaken the first night I took a taxi home by myself. The cab driver ended up taking me to one of the more dangerous parts of Barranco instead of home and when I finally, thankfully, got to the apartment on the brink of tears she opened her arms in a hug saying “pobreciiiiita, pobreciiiiita” (which means “poor baby”…haha).

I currently have an internship at the Museo de Arte de Lima (originally I had been set up with a different museum, but had to switch because of some logistical issues), and am finding it so interesting to see the inter-workings of a museum. While there’s not very much for me to do considering the lack of training I have in restoration, conservation, and…well, speaking Spanish, I am still happy to be there. I’ve been doing a lot of work with Photoshop, editing images of artifacts to be put into a new computer system they have for organizing their collections. I work at the museum Mondays through Thursdays, and every Friday the program I’m in here gets together to do cultural trips that have been a lot of fun so far. I’ve been sand-boarding and white water rafting, and am looking forward to a trip to Macchu Picchu with some of the kids in the program next week!

Museo de Arte de Lima

Sea lions sunbathing on one of our Friday trips to Ica, Peru

I am now past the halfway mark on this trip, and while I certainly have adjusted over the past 5 weeks, I have to say that the adjustment was harder than I expected in the beginning. “Classroom” Spanish is much different than “I’m trying to survive in a Spanish-speaking country” Spanish. It turns out that asking what tonight’s homework will be in class happens to be a lot easier than even just trying to order an iced-coffee (they don’t have those here) at Dunkin Donuts. I ended up with an ice-cream-looking latte the first (and last) time I tried that. But, those moments of miscommunication, embarrassment, and often times extreme discouragement are what help you learn here. So, needless to say, I’ve had a lot of those moments.

However, the biggest contributor to my culture shock here was transportation. Luckily, I’m able to take Lima’s newly installed Metro system to work, but it is very basic and is really not a very common form of transportation here yet. Their biggest mode of transportation are “combis”, which are privately owned buses (vans, really), with “cobradores” who quite literally hang out the door screaming the names of the streets the combi will pass along. These were hard for me at first because you really have to use your voice to survive on them. And, even when you do, it’s particularly hard to communicate with the drivers and cobradores because they are not very educated, which makes their Spanish even more difficult to understand. But, while I have naturally gotten terribly lost on the combis, most people are willing to help when they see my clearly foreign appearance and the look of sheer panic on my face. I have had some really terrible experiences on combis with elbows and screaming babies in my face, but I have also had some beautiful experiences that have made me fall in love with the people down here that are so willing to help.

Combi

The Metro (what I take to work)

The hardest part of my day is probably crossing the street here, though, because there are just absolutely no rules in the streets (which make combis an even more unbelievable experience – I’m thinking we could introduce the combi to our dryland and strength training, because it’s actually a great core workout). The “right of way” for pedestrians doesn’t exist, so I often find myself quite literally sprinting across the street. Sometimes I swear I hear the engine pick up when I start to cross.

The things I’ve learned abroad in Lima have far surpassed what I thought was one of my life-goals of becoming bilingual. While that would certainly be nice, I would consider that only a bonus after finishing this trip. Lima has already taught me much greater life lessons: I’ve acquired a greater capacity for empathy and realized that everyone is intelligent in their own language – it’s not a matter of mind but rather a matter of expression. I’ve also learned that culture is important: some people’s disorder is other people’s order. For example, “Nancy Enana” is scared of the Metro; whereas I literally wanted to kiss the T-reminiscent “Metro Card” when I obtained one. Unlike Nancy, I was terrified of combis and couldn’t believe she actually preferred them over what I consider to be a quiet, organized system of transportation. But, that is what culture is all about: culture is what is familiar and what is familiar feels good. And that’s what makes me thankful for my own home: both my home in New Jersey and my home at Harvard. While this trip has been nothing short of amazing, I cannot wait to come back to my culture and family in America. And the Boston T system, haha. I miss you guys!! Hope everyone is having a great summer.

A special type of flower found all over the city, they’re so bright!!

HWSD Love,

Steph

Greetings from Arizona: Summer Lovin’

Oh Arizona. This state is definitely not one of the most exciting places to be in the summertime with average temperatures around 110 degrees and blazing UV rays. There is also no nightlife like New York City, beaches like San Diego, or an exotic appeal like Maui. But this great state is where the most important people in my life reside—my family. In Arizona I have my two aunts, uncles, grandparents, and a handful of baby cousins. My whole family lives within a radius of 45 minutes of each other. So, we are a very close-knit family. We spend a lot of time together shopping, going to movies, eating out, or just spending the day at someone’s house.

On the educational side this summer, I am doing research with two different professors—Professor Jay Taylor and Professor Wenbo Tang—at Arizona State University. I am assisting Prof. Taylor with researching the effects of changing environments on population gene pools and exploring the dynamical systems in the stability of population equilibriums with Prof. Tang. A mouthful (I know), but both projects have kept my mornings occupied and interest piqued. Hopefully, by the end of summer, I will have some fascinating news to share when I finish.

My crazy Friday nights consist of me “pop locking and dropping it” at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio going crazy with my moves like jagger. For those that don’t know, I love to dance—anywhere, everywhere, and all the time! So, naturally, I got back into hip hop classes this summer learning a new routine that I am trying to perfect and whip out in the fall. GET READY!

Lastly this summer, I have been swimming and training at a new club team called Phoenix Swim Club (swimmers gotta do what we gotta do). We have 7 am morning practices and 3:30 afternoon practices with a half an hour of dryland work before we get in. For a girl who just swam laps during practice the last four years, this new type of training is fun and refreshing. For dryland work, we climb ropes, run laps, lift weights, and do yoga. In our swim workouts, we incorporate swimming with buckets, stretch cords, parachutes, and do a lot of racing. I love this new team and it’s always-exciting practices. Of course, nothing beats training with my girls on HWSD. I miss you ladies and cannot wait to break it down/ boogie/ jam/ twerk/ dougie/ and bust a move with you all in and out of the pool. See you in the fall!

Crimson love,

Deelee

Trip to Taiwan

First of all, WELCOME TO THE TEAM FRESHMEN!! And thanks for all the funny videos, HWSD! It’s a perfect distraction from my ever present studying.

Yup, you heard right. I may not be having the most exciting summer ever, stuck in the suburbs taking organic chemistry, and I’m sure you all don’t want to hear about stereoisomers of cyclohexane, so I could just chat about my brief trip to Taiwan instead!

Once every 2 years, my family tries to take a trip back to Taiwan to visit old family and friends. This year, my mom happened to have a business opportunity in China, so she dragged me along too. While we were only there for 2 days, I was astonished at how much China had changed since the last time we had been there, about 9 years ago. (Well maybe it was just Shanghai, where we were at, but I doubt it). But Shanghai, oh man, it was like this giant, opulent spectacle! Every night at about 8 when the sun went down, all the lights came on and it was amazing! However, this only lasted for about 3 hours for the gawping tourists’ benefits, since at 11 pm ALL the lights would shut off at once in order to conserve energy. Of course, there were downsides to staying in such an opulent city, since everything was SUPER expensive! A box of cereal was $10! With all that free cereal in the dining halls back at school, um…count me out.

Returning back to Taiwan was a huge relief, since Taiwan is like the opposite from China in terms of exchange rate. That being said, my family spent a lot of time shopping (dragging my poor brother and father around), visiting old relatives (who gushed about how much we’ve grown), and ducking into air-conditioned department stores (since it was about 90-100 degrees there every day). It felt great to just relax with my family for a while and I know my parents enjoyed visiting where they grew up! Of course, I’m also excited to start sophomore year (not a freshman anymore, yikes!) and see the team again! Enjoy your summer, HWSD!

<3 Connie

P.S. Sorry if my language is less than eloquent at the moment. My brain feels like a twisted noodle right now with all the studying >_<

Bright city lights!

Bright city lights!

HWSD love from North Carolina

So I (Courtney Otto) have traded my Boston accent for a Southern drawl as my summer adventure has led me below the Mason Dixon Line. For the next three months Charlotte, North Carolina is my place of residency and I’m spending my days immersed in weight rooms, yoga studios, and swimming pools. Since January, swimming has been a journey of ups and downs due to a lower back injury, and the fact that I can finally focus on my passion leads to a most rewarding feeling.

Here in Charlotte, I’m training under coaching legend David Marsh on his team SwimMac. In addition to the club team, he also heads an elite team made up of several Olympic, and National team athletes, as well as other collegiate athletes who are serious about using the summer as a time to better themselves athletically.  While the environment is full of serious swimmers, the atmosphere is essentially the opposite.

David and his team of coaches lead very unconventional practices that make for a laid-back atmosphere. Take practice start time as an example. In the mornings we have 3-hour practices that start at 7:30. People roll in at 7:30, and we spend about 20 minutes rolling out and stretching as well as group dynamic warm-ups before we get in the water. Last week we played water Frisbee for ½ an hour as our dynamic warm-up. The main sets also are unconventional and include hard sets mixed in with running, widths, rope climbing, abs…etc. For an individual that absolutely hates getting bored in the water, training here has been a pretty easy adjustment.

In the weight room, we have a trainer who specializes working with each of us individually. Due to my injury I haven’t done dryland since the end of December, and though I was moderately made fun for the way I limped into my second day of weights, Darin ( our coach) has made an amazing workout plan just for me. SwimMac also has an incredible team chiropractor. Between him and Darin I haven’t had back pain in 2 weeks and I even started adding kettle balls (very small kettle balls, but weights nevertheless) to my squats!

Training down here has so far been such a rewarding experience. However, there really is nothing like training with a team like HWSD. I’m so excited to come back in the fall and be reunited with the most dedicated, intelligent, and beautiful group of girls in the NCAA, and I’m so excited to see what the next year has to offer!

HWSD love y’all,

Court

 

Summer Preview

From New York City to Arizona, from Peru to Israel, this summer the Harvard Women’s Swim and Dive Team knows no bounds. Dani Schulkin, here, introducing the team’s newest online venture: HWSD Postcards. Each week one or two teammates will send in one picture and one short note with an update on their whereabouts and adventures somewhere in the world.

Here’s a sneak preview of the posts to come:

Marlee Ehrlich, Class of 2016:

This summer, I’ll be going home for about a month and training with my old club team. I’ll be traveling to Israel in July to partake in the 19th World Maccabiah Games. I’m lucky enough to be able to represent the USA as a member of the Open Swim Team for the 19th World Games. I’ll be in Israel for 3 weeks in July, I’ll be training, touring, and competing. I’m very excited about the Games! I even get to swim an open water  5K for the first time. I’m looking forward to going home for a bit, but I’ll miss my teammates and my new home (Harvard) very much!

Shori Hijikata, Class of 2016: 

For the first time since arriving in Cambridge, I’ll be flying home! I’ll be starting the summer with a bit of traveling, spending some time visiting friends here in the US before going back to Australia for two weeks. Early June, I’ll be back in sunny Cambridge to work as a research assistant in a neurobiology laboratory on campus. I’ll also be working at the Harvard Admissions Office, giving tours and information sessions to prospective students and their families throughout the summer. Come August, I’ll be moving back into the dormitories early in preparation for the Freshman International Program (FIP), where I and twenty-five other FIP leaders from around the world will be excitedly awaiting the arrival of our incoming international freshmen. Swimming this summer without HWSD will be a different experience and I’ll miss the team a ton, but at the same time, I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s summer adventures and to dive right back into practices in the fall! #HWSDlovefarandwide

Steph Ferrell, Class of 2015: 

This summer I will be traveling to Lima, Peru from June 1st to July 27th to work as an intern at the “Museo de Sitio Bodega y Quadra.” I will be living with a host family and am so excited to be fully immersed in Latin American culture through this experience. I will be working Monday-Thursday, but every Friday the other Harvard students within the program all meet up to explore the country. A diver on the men’s team (George Doran), actually, will be joining me as he is working for a lab in Lima through this program as well. I’ve included a website (the article is written in Spanish but I have included it mainly for the purpose of the pictures) to show what the museum I’ll be working at looks like!

http://turismo-huacho.blogspot.com/2013/02/museo-sitio-bodega-y-quadra-en-el.html

Ana Anaya, Class of 2015: This summer I will be taking a Psychology of Law class. I am going to be rooming with fellow teammate Taylor Foster, Class of 2014. We are renting our own apartment and will have an opportunity to play house this summer. I am going to get back into training, since I have a lot to catch up on after surgery. It’s exciting to be able to explore all that Boston has to offer this summer with some of my best friends and fellow members of HWSD.

Deirdre Clute, Class of 2014: While I am a little sad to be leaving my home in sunny California, I am really looking forward to spending my summer in New York! I will be working as a marketing intern for PepsiCo. Not only will the job itself be a huge learning experience, but living on my own in New York City is bound to teach me a few things. Luckily, I have my fellow HWSD teammate, Daniela Suarez, to show me around! It should be a great summer filled with runs through Central Park and lots of time spent with my fellow New York HWSD’ers.

As for me, I just arrived home yesterday! My family moved out to the west coast my sophomore year so this will be my first chance to explore Seattle. I’m spending this next month training with my new club team while studying for graduate school exams. I’m then shipping off to India to dig into government archives for thesis research. I’m stoked about seeing an old friend and teammate, Helen Pitchik, in New Delhi!

Despite being excited to embark on new quests this summer, I had a hard time leaving Harvard this past weekend. In the span of four hours, my room transformed from the place that defined who I am to a barren, soulless room waiting for the next inhabitant to color its walls. From that Turkish lamp my friend and I found in Istanbul to a collage of inspirational notes from teammates during championship meet season, packing was a uniquely nostalgic experience. I was constantly reminded of why I’m so grateful to this school and, more importantly, to the people who make this place come alive. So here’s a shout-out to my fellow teammates and friends: to the training partners who keep me going during practice, to the partners in crime who dance no matter the place, and to the students who time and time again inspire me. I will miss you all very much. Whether you are peacefully training at home or exploring new places, I can’t wait to hear about your summer adventures!

Much love,

Dani

Just Dance

By Deirdre Clute ’14:

I wish I could use something other than words on a page to describe this weekend. Pictures wouldn’t do it justice, and the results don’t tell the whole story. Because this weekend was one of my favorite swim meets of my career, and nothing on paper would explain why. This weekend was my favorite not only despite the loss, but because of it. Had our swims been easy, our path unblocked, this team would not have had the opportunity to come together as it did.

As many of you know, we went into Ivy Championships the favorite. We swept HYP, and all dual meets prior, and were confidently prepared. But as life teaches you again and again, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. We begun the meet as we did any other- with a pep talk from Steph and a loud cheer before the first buzzer. Yet, things didn’t click as they usually do. Touch-outs lead to 9th and 17th, pushing us just outside of the desired A Final Heat, and even the Consolation heat. While we fought hard for the rest of the meet and got drastically better by the last day, we had started off too low. But I would say it was (almost) worth it to watch as our team picked itself up and put everything else aside to become one unbelievably powerful force in the end.

Never before have I been a part of a group like HWSD. I have been on plenty of teams and in a variety of social groups. But there is something indescribable about the bond our team has, and it was only accentuated at times like this past weekend. Throughout the course of the meet, our team would gather in a room to discuss what we were doing right or wrong, and how we could improve. However, after the first day, our team collectively decided that we were going to change our focus. Instead of race plans, we discussed cheering. Instead of individual goals, we discussed the strengths of the team. Instead of race prep, we discussed dancing. And I should clarify that by saying that dancing became our race prep. This stood as our reminder to have fun, get outside ourselves, and focus on the team: cheering and dancing together.

At our meetings, it was not just the coaches, captains, or seniors talking; it was every single member, every single time. Freshmen often times had the best insight of us all. They reminded us how special our team is, and how lucky we are to be such a unified, strong group of friends. Seniors reflected on years past and encouraged us to not let one moment slip by, because HWSD is something we will never again be a part of. The community will always be there in the alumni, but the feeling of standing in a room, holding hands with your teammates, and getting collectively more and more energized as each person talks, that’s something that can never be recreated.

So as I look back and realize that my next season will be my SENIOR year, I find that the times I want to remember have nothing to do with the score. They have to do with this feeling of complete trust and love, because I know there are 32 girls who stand with me through anything. As we walked onto the deck the last session of Ivies, hoods on, and chests held high, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. Because I knew that no matter what happened that night, we undeniably had the most spirit and fight of any team out there. Each swimmer on this team is a stepping-stone to defining our legacy, paving the way for an even more successful team to follow.  So I say that scores and victories may fade, but the heart and fight of our team will stand unwaveringly, preparing us for everything to come. Because after all, strong warriors are always ready for another battle.

Caroline and Deeds celebrate after the 200 back

 

HWSD love

The Magic of Heart

Hi there, it’s Clare Foster, senior breaststroker and tri-captain on HWSD.  Back on campus after a whirlwind weekend at Princeton, it’s hard to settle in after so much emotion.  How can I possibly read about theories of the justice of healthcare when all my brain is doing is replaying the events of the past two days over and over again?  These are the moments you want to cherish forever- these feelings of complete and utter elation are few and far between in life (yes, I realize I sound a little silly, corny and philosophical- I attribute that to my old age and alleged ”wisdom”).

Coming into HYP weekend, we knew we were ready.  To call us cocky would be wrong, but we were confident.  We had hours of hard training behind us, we had our flawless dual meet record to show us that we were great, but most importantly, we had that little something else special: heart.  The “fire in our bellies” to race, fight even claw our way to the finish for one another is what makes HWSD a truly unique team and has been fundamental in our success this year, especially at HYP.

Cosmo, for those of you who don’t know, is the name HWSD give two girls every year who are in charge of providing the team with inspiration, spirit and enthusiasm through arts and crafts.  I like to think of Cosmo as HWSD’s own fairy godmothers. Each meet Cosmo provides inspiration through a quote or poem (with a piece of candy to match). This weekend Cosmo’s quote was “Never underestimate the heart of a champion”. Looking back on this saying now I realize how much I had taken for granted the weight, power and strength heart can have.

In a team meeting Friday afternoon before the first session of HYP, Kyle Cutter, HWSD alumna and current volunteer assistant coach, stood up holding a Snapple bottle full of water in her hands.  The water in the bottle wasn’t just any old water – it was water she had taken from our very own Blodgett pool.  In it, she explained, was all our hard work from the season-all our VO2 max practices, our killer threshold sets we thought would never end, our blood, our sweat, our tears, but most importantly it contained our confidence, our faith and trust in one another, our commitment to HWSD; it contained our heart.  And in that meeting, we decided we were going to make a vow both literally-by pouring the Blodgett water in our lanes at DeNunzio- and figuratively to bring all those moments, all those experiences, to Princeton that weekend. That is exactly what we did, and boy it was pure magic.  Let me repeat, never underestimate the heart of a champion.

"Harvard on the Warpath" team cheer

Class of 2013 post-HYP victory

Senior Perspective

Hello HWSD fans!

After a brief hiatus during all of our winter break travels, our blog posts are back! Here are three posts from our last few months, highlighting winter invites, training trip, and some January dual meets. Stay tuned for news about HYP this weekend!

January 27th update from senior Carol Lin:

As a disclaimer, I’ve been calling myself “old” since I entered freshman year of high school; still, it amazes me to say that I’ve been swimming for a decade. One of my first memories of competitive swimming is watching “Without Limits,” the story of Steve Prefontaine’s incredible running career, with my club teammates as we prepared for the age group championships. It seems fitting, then, that one of the last memories of my swimming career will be watching the same movie again; this time, nearly a decade after my first viewing of the movie, I watched with my HWSD teammates in Coach Steph’s living room to gain inspiration from Prefontaine in preparation for the HYP and Ivies/ECAC championship meets.

Watching Prefontaine’s story with my teammates during one of the last times we’ll all be together this season reminded me that my time as a competitive swimmer is coming to an end. After quite a few years as a swimmer, I’ve realized that Prefontaine’s struggles and success are universal to athletes of any sport or caliber. I haven’t competed at the Olympic Games like Steve Prefontaine, but I’ve experienced great thrills and crushing disappointments. I’ve learned that life isn’t perfect and that you can’t always plan for what will happen. I’ve made numerous mistakes, faced adversity, and fallen flat on my back (literally – ask any member of HMSD).

But, at the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s easy to forget about my own struggles when I remember that I’m not swimming as an individual. When I step onto the blocks, I wear a Harvard cap and represent HWSD, a group of “Prefontaines” who put their hearts into every race. Together, we work towards a common goal, overcome failures, and celebrate triumphs. As we enter the championship season, we know that there will be challenges and that not everything may go according to plan. In these moments, we’ll remind ourselves of the commitment that we’ve made to each other and of the incredible opportunity we have to represent Harvard Swimming.

In the spirit of senioritis, I’ll steal a quote from Steve Prefontaine to end my final post as a member of HWSD:

It’s the hardest thing in the world to believe in something; if you do, it’s a miracle.

Prefontaine said this line in the movie in an attempt to charm a special lady, but I’ll use it to relate back to the purpose of this post. To the Harvard Swimming and Diving family (and especially the Class of 2013), thank you for giving me something to believe in for the past four years. I feel fortunate to have been part of something bigger than myself and am honored to have belonged to an extraordinary group of women.

Crimson love,

Carol

Class of 2013’s last meet at Blodgett

Training Trip 2013

January 12th update:

Hi there, Crimson fans! I’m Kyle Krueger, a junior breaststroker on HWSD. We just returned from our annual training trip, so we are adjusting back to Boston’s chilly winter temperatures. This year, the swimmers travelled to Puerto Rico where we trained in the sun at the University of the Sacred Heart, while the divers made the trip to Miami and trained at the University of Miami’s gorgeous outdoor facility.

Down in Puerto Rico, the sunny skies and inviting warm weather offered the perfect setting for HWSD’s 26 swimmers to fully commit to an intense week of training. While we were surrounded by a decidedly laid-back island vibe and spent our mid-day hours relaxing on the beach, training trip was also a time for bringing a laser-beam focus and a sense of purpose to practice each morning and afternoon. Practices are always tough. Our bodies always feel broken down. But just as constant is the unwavering support of each member of HWSD through every challenging workout. Most salient in my memory of training trip each year is the team point set, and 2013 was no different. Challenged to each step up and race in our best events, we took on the coaches’ 50-point goal with confidence, heart, and determination. Digging deep on that set with the encouragement and solidarity of all of your teammates really captures the essence of what it means to be a member of HWSD.

Our team’s cohesion can be traced to our fun activities away from the pool as well. From our team dinner out, to nightly team bonding activities, to our trip into Old San Juan, to a team outing to one of Puerto Rico’s famed bioluminescence kayaking tours, training trip was also a time of team bonding. Whether we were preparing with our roommates for the annual training trip talent show, or whipping up a “family dinner” in our hotel room kitchens, every moment of training trip, both in and out of the pool, allowed everyone from the freshmen to the seniors to become closer as a team. We all know that our deep-seated team unity is one of HWSD’s most valuable and defining traits, and it is sure to make us an even more unstoppable force when it comes time to compete.

While our stay in Puerto Rico had to draw to a close, we were not quite ready to return home yet. On our way back to Cambridge, we made a two-day pit-stop in Miami to join forces with our divers and compete against the University of Miami in a dual meet. Although we could have easily yielded to the aching muscles and tired bodies that come with the end of training trip, we instead found strength in all of the hard work that we had put in during the last week. Knowing that we were physically and mentally tougher than before, and more united than ever, we took the meet by storm. With a 175-86 victory, we capped off an incredibly successful training trip.

Without a doubt, this trip once again reminded me why I am so thankful to call myself a member of HWSD. Inspired by my teammates as always, I am looking forward to our hard work coming to fruition as we enter the home stretch of our season.  As was said on our training trip, it’s time for HWSD to define our legacy!