Winter Invites

This week, we have a double post! See below for perspectives from both the Texas and MIT Invitationals last weekend.

Sara Li on the Texas Invite:

Hello from snowy Cambridge! My name is Sara Li, also known as Sli, and I am a senior on the team and a sprint freestyler. Although half of our team spent the past week in Austin, Texas, the weather turned out to be colder than it was back at Harvard, and of course, the day we get back is the first real snowfall of the season. All of this is to explain why when we arrived in Texas, approximately 100% of the swimmers on other teams (Arizona, Penn State, Texas, USC, Wisconsin, UCLA, UCSB, and more) were tanner than we were.

Ultimately, it was not only the paleness of our skin that differentiated us from the rest of the swimmers on deck. Harvard is known for its academics, not its athletics. But when we walked on deck in our matching Lululemon warm ups and our crimson parkas, we looked good. We looked intimidating. Yes, Harvard is different, but we were different in a great way.

As Harvard student-athletes, we deal with a whole lot more stress than those other teams may deal with, but we are still top-level athletes. We swam well, with some impressive in-season swims and exciting relays. Though we were not quite where we want to be at the end of the season, we worked the little things: the starts, turns, breakouts, finishes. We made individual adjustments to our prelim races and came back strong at finals. And with every session, our team got closer. We cheered, we danced, and we stuck together more tightly and cohesively than any other team on deck. A meet like Texas inspires us to train harder, with swimmers who were busting out the top times in the country throughout the weekend. But it is also an opportunity to appreciate how impressive every single person is on HWSD, and remember how lucky we are to be on the same team as these incredible women.

Good luck to everyone during finals week. We can do it.

Love,

Sli

 

Maggie Chory on the MIT Invite:

Hi! It’s freshman Maggie Chory from Weston, MA and we are fresh off of our December rest meet, with some of the team going to the UT Invite in Austin, and the rest of us heading down Mass Ave to MIT for their annual invitational. This was the first time all season that we have been rested and wearing fast suits, and it was fun to see what we could do.

At MIT, despite being a small group we kept the energy up all weekend, cheering for each race and getting behind the lanes of our breaststrokers and flyers. Under the leadership of our great volunteer coach Kyle Cutter and her trusty assistants Taylor and Ana, we had some great swims, and really showed our competitive spirit in and out of the pool. Paige especially did her part to keep the Keene State men’s team from encroaching on our bleacher space.

It was also nice being so close to Harvard, as many of us had supportive friends and roommates able to come watch. Despite being less than half the size of most of the other teams, by the end of the meet, and with the help of our divers, we placed a solid second overall!

Now that the fun of the weekend is over, it is back to reality with final essays and exams taking up the next two weeks until we all go back home for a few days and then head off to Madrid! That is certainly enough motivation to get me through this final push.

-Maggie

Away at Dartmouth

Hello HWSD fans! Taylor Foster here with updates from our recent trip to Dartmouth this past weekend. I’m a senior swimmer hailing from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. There was a lot of excitement going into our tri-meet this weekend against Dartmouth and Cornell because any chance to compete always brings the team closer together. It was not only our first opportunity to travel altogether as a team, but also a chance to improve on our dives and races from last weekend at Columbia.  I noticed the whole week at practice there was a renewed energy on deck as that fire inside us all was reignited to continue training day-by-day towards our goals for the end of the season. That was the theme of the meet as we all tried to focus on the small things in our races and dives that still could be perfected.

HWSD finished up the weekend with two resounding wins, and also set five pool records along the way. It was really special to start to see our team come together at this point in the season and give a view of what a fun-filled and exhilarating year we are going to have. The freshman all have at least one meet under their belt now and are fully on board and ready to go. Now that the meet season is underway, next up we are gearing up for the Texas Invite and MIT Invite the week after Thanksgiving.

This meet was also a special time for the seniors because the last time we were at the Dartmouth pool was at our first dual meet of our careers freshman year. We were nostalgic as we took a photo in the same exact spot and realized how we have grown over the past three years. It’s at moments like this that we stop and realize how much Harvard Women’s Swimming and Diving comes to mean to us.

HWSDlove,

Taylor

Class of 2014 as seniors (2013)

Class of 2014 as freshmen (2010)

Not Without A Fight

Hello! It’s sophomore Marlee Ehrlich back in Cambridge after our meet against Columbia. This past weekend our team opened up the season in New York City. While the meet didn’t turn out the way we expected, it was still a great season opener and we were able to learn a lot about how our team works.

The first meet, especially first travel meet, is always really exciting. It’s our first chance to get up and race against new people, and it’s also our first chance to cheer on and support our teammates in a race setting. When we first arrived at our hotel in New York, everyone was excited. There was a strong feeling amongst the team that we were ready to race. The feeling was so strong that I had a hard time falling asleep that night because I was so excited. When we woke up the next morning, everyone had a big smile on her face.

Those smiles never faded. Throughout the meet our team continued to smile and dance and cheer each other on, even when winning was out of reach. Our team is a team of fighters; we won’t go down without a fight. We swam extremely fast, especially for where we are in the season; in fact, we set 6 pool records! Even though our fast swimming was impressive, what was more impressive was our team spirit and unity. I’m not quite sure what it is, but something about the start of the meet season always changes the team dynamic. We instantly become closer and more focused. That change was quite evident on the pool deck yesterday. Every single girl was up and cheering for her teammates in the water and that is what makes our team so special. No matter what the score is, we all want each other to succeed and swim fast. HWSD makes swimming a team sport instead of an individual sport.

After the meet, we had a pizza lunch with friends, family, and alum that came to watch our meet. Even with a loss fresh in our minds, every single girl had a big smile on her face. No matter what happens in the pool, we all know that we have the support of our friends, family, and most importantly each other to get through any setback we may encounter. With our first meet of the season behind us, we are looking forward to a great rest of the season. We swim Dartmouth and Cornell next weekend, and I know I’m excited to race again!

Go Crimson!

Gaining Momentum

This is Ashlee, a freshman all the way from Andover, Massachusetts. As a girl from a quiet town, I am loving the city life here in Cambridge! After a month of not being able to coach us, Steph and Chris are really excited to be directing practices again. While the workouts have become significantly more challenging, motivation from the other girls and the coaches makes them seem so much easier! On October 1, we got right down to business and started splitting up into different training groups; either sprint, mid-distance, distance, breast, or flack pack. The distance group trained with the men’s distance group one morning, which was a great challenge for us! Not only do we practice with the men’s team on Monday mornings, but on Friday afternoons as well, which makes for an intense sprint circuit practice. Some of us, especially us distance swimmers, have been spending a lot of time in the endless pool lately and it’s wicked (or hella if you’re not from New England) cool! We did our first team set on Saturday and it was probably one of the most memorable and challenging sets so far, and we rocked it. As for what’s going on across the river, midterms have started, which means lots of tests to take and essays to write for the next few weeks. Midterms seem to have brought the cold weather to campus as well, but the walk to the pool in the mornings isn’t too bad ever since the parkas arrived! We also got our new shorts, which means the next time we go to the weight room we’ll be the most fashionable team in our matching crimson shirts and black shorts and sneakers. I’m so excited to be a freshman on the HWSD team and I cannot wait for our meets to start!!!

Welcome Back!

Hello to all!! Junior (whoa) Steph Ferrell here, and WOW is it good to be back! While it’s normally pretty hard to describe the feeling of being reunited with your team, I’m finding it particularly challenging to describe it after being away in a foreign country (Peru) for most of the summer. I can’t explain how good it is to see everyone again – it made the terrible heat and big boxes that come with move in monumentally better, and made me so thankful to not just be back in America or at Harvard, but to be back on my HWSD team.

My favorite, dysfunctional Junior class -- can’t believe we are upperclassmen!

My favorite Junior class -- can’t believe we are upperclassmen!

While I was met with familiar HWSD faces as I came back to campus at the end of August, I found myself surrounded by some fresh HWSD faces as well…and by fresh I mean freshmen (punny, I know…I try)!! We are so excited to be practicing as a team now that captains’ practices have been in full swing for about a month and the official season lies less than two weeks away. We have had some great bonding with the freshmen: from sharing our most embarrassing stories at Harvard so far to watching Ashlee Korsberg climb a rope hanging off the 7 meter tower in maybe less than 30 seconds (as I dangled halfway up the rope remembering I was scared of heights for about 2 minutes…). They are truly a great group of girls and I cannot wait to experience this season with them.

Pretty froshies!!

Pretty froshies!!

Sophomore Kendall Crawford being the first one to tackle the rope challenge!

Sophomore Kendall Crawford being the first one to tackle the rope challenge!

Now that we are back at it in the pool, classroom (eek), weight room, AND yoga room, it feels like everything is how it’s supposed to be again — my hair reeks of chlorine, my brain hurts, my muscles ache, and my jaw still drops when Arturo demonstrates how he wants us to bend our bodies at 6:30 in the morning…and I love it. Oh, and I seem to have my in-season appetite back, too…for something more than that post-practice swimmer-hunger for extra carbs…

We’re ready for a great season, HERE WE GO HARVARD!

Big H

The Big H

HWSD!

HWSD!

 

 

Shalom from the Holy Land!

No, it’s not Marlee Ehrlich and no, I didn’t convert to Judaism (as someone actually asked me when I mentioned I was going to Israel), but this is Daniela Suarez and I am writing from the North of Israel where my family and I are spending our last two “cultural” days before relaxing on the beach in Tel Aviv and then going back home to the US. However, this summer was already off to an exciting start before we packed our bags and crossed the Atlantic to discover this new and amazing place.

For me, summer started the second I finished my last final at the end of May. Once the clock hit11:30am I ran out and was on a bus with DLee (or Danielle Lee), Margaret, and our 10 bags back to my home, New York City. We sat squished in between strangers, relieved to have finally finished the grueling misery that is the deadly move-out and finals combination. I was thrilled to have them stay at my house, especially since DLee had only been to New York once briefly, and I quickly showed them my side of the city as we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, ate Grimaldi’s pizza by the East River, went to the Metropolitan Museum, and the list goes on with the highlight being venturing 94 floors up the new Freedom Tower in the World Trade Center. Their stay was short-lived, but only two days later it was my turn to travel to Carmel, Indiana for the long-awaited “Indy 500″. Along with Marlee and Kendall, we grabbed our coolers, courtesy of Mrs. Ramsey, and spent the day on the racetrack among Midwesterners who await this day pretty much all year. It was definitely an experience I hope to repeat.

Yet, it was all over way too quickly and, before I knew it, I was back in New York, working at an art gallery as an intern and swimming with my home swim team, AGUA. Then about a month later I was back on the road, this time to the familiar Cambridge, MA, but I wasn’t as excited as usual as summer Organic Chemistry was about to start. And so began 7 weeks of long labs and weekly tests that were only made better by the time I spent with Taylor, Ana, and Paige, who were also in Cambridge for the summer. As miserable as it was to have to work so hard when everyone else was relaxing, I cannot even begin to describe the relief I felt at the end when I knew I would never have to take the course again.

And so, only a day after coming back home, my parents, younger sister, and I were on a plane to Tel Aviv, Israel, about to embark on a two week adventure in a region that many people, including myself at first, are scared away from thanks to the news. I was definitely pleasantly surprised. We began our trip in Jerusalem and I was immediately amazed by the amount of history (think thousands of years) in a single place. It’s not only the center for the Jewish religion as most people seem to think, but it brings together so many people of different cultures such as Muslims, Christians, and many more that I didn’t even know existed. We’ve been driving around Israel for the past week and a half, spending a morning in Palestinian territory to visit Bethlehem, floating in the Dead Sea, visiting the amazing ruins of Petra in Jordan (Indiana Jones, anyone?), riding around the Ramon Crater in a jeep, mountain biking, crossing through the desert on camels, and of course, having a man offer my dad a few camels in exchange for me or my sister (good deal, huh?). Furthermore, I’m writing this blogpost as we’ve just driven by the border with Lebanon on our way to Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee. I can definitely say this has been a unique and absolutely incredible family vacation, but I’m also unbelievably eager to get back home, and by home I mean Harvard with my fellow HWSDers.

Much love,
(Daniela) Suarez

Indy 500

Jerusalem market treats

Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

View of the Dead Sea from Masada

Petra ruins (and camels)

A Complete 180

There’s nothing quite like driving down the road with your windows down, the sun shining, and listening to country music. Being home this summer has been a complete 180 from being at school all year. Not only have I not had to pick up a required book, walk everywhere, or be able to live with my best friends, but I’ve also gotten a complete role reversal with swimming. This summer I’ve had the chance to work as a co-head coach at the summer swim team that I swam for growing up, and let me tell you, I have a new respect for all coaches!

Despite the exhausting heat, countless eight and under kids screaming my name and hanging on me constantly, and getting pushed into the pool fully clothed, it’s been rewarding to see little kids discover a love of a sport that has always been a part of my life. There’s also nothing quite like having an adorable seven year old girl ask for your autograph on your first day of work!  My days are spent getting in the water, repeating “up, out, and around” as I attempt to make my little boys understand that there isn’t a freestyle kick in breaststroke, that in backstroke you actually have to touch on your back, and that the point of a start is to dive out not just jump straight down and touch the bottom of the pool. Thursday nights are full of yelling, screaming, and cheering and sporting the latest spirit costume that the kids decorated as the GCC Green Giants attempt to beat their latest competition in our dual meets. Any other time, I’m probably at one social event or another with my kids, whether it’s roller skating, bowling, going to the lake, a pj dance party, or dinner downtown. We cover it all from the eighteen to the six year olds! Although our season, which finished this past weekend, didn’t end as well as we wanted it to, I think the kids learned a lot about more than just swimming. They learned team spirit, something I’m missing dearly from HWSD this summer!

On the training standpoint, I’ve been swimming every morning before work with a new team and doing some sort of other workout in the afternoon, whether it’s swimming or doing some sort of dryland activity. My new team does a lot of different practices than I’m used to! My old team did a lot more short repetitive work, while this team does a lot more longer interval based training. While I wasn’t planning on changing teams this summer, I think that these new practices will help me come the fall! I’m also planning on swimming in the U.S. Open in a few weeks, so that will be a great opportunity to see how it’ll pay off.

While being at home this summer has been refreshing and fun seeing some of my old friends, I can’t wait to go back to school and start training with HWSD again!

Sending love from the south,

Kendall Crawford

Me and Elliot- an 11 year old swimmer

All the coaches for my swim team sporting hats decorated for us by the swimmers

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

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!