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!

Back to Boston

I wish I could say that I’m writing from under the Puerto Rican sun but, alas, HWSD has plunged into the wintry depths of Boston once more. Sophomore Dani Schulkin here filling everyone in this week on the weekly undertakings of the Harvard Women’s Swim and Dive team.

To be sure, there are lingering remnants of our Puerto Rican escapade. If you venture into our locker room, you will likely hear some reggaeton music blasting. You might notice several girls grooving to the beat in a decidedly “Island” fashion. On the pool deck, you may detect a couple of goggle tans. Even online, Puerto Rico remains engrained in our photo albums (see below!) as well as in our seriously in-shape physiques.

But, most importantly, you will definitely see the results of training trip in the pool. We worked hard. And that is an understatement. We swam, ate, slept, timidly ventured out into paradise for a little relaxation, and then swam some more. Every day. Steph and Matt formulated each practice to challenge us both mentally and physically. By the end, we may have been a bit more weary, a little less rested, but a lot more prepared to take the rest of the season by storm.

This past Saturday, January the 14th, just three days after our last practice in Puerto Rico, we raced Brown in our second to last Ivy dual meet of the season. Battling the sores and throbs from training trip, we attacked each event and finished strong (final score 193-107). Even with many swimmers in off events, we won 12 out of the total 16 events. Seeing these ladies race with the verve and spunk of a rested team is motivating for the rest of the season. On the boards, Senior Leslie Rea won both 1 Meter and 3 Meter and all of the divers pulled on swim caps to compete in the 200 Meter Freestyle relay. So multi-talented! Next week, we travel to Illinois to challenge Northwestern and Iowa for the first time. We are looking forward to competing against new teams and gaining a little more racing experience as the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet approaches.

For me, this past week brings out what I love most in HWSD. During training trip, practices are hard. Sets are challenging. And none of us can really get through it alone. I’m not sure if I would have made it through the 60 Point set without fellow flyers Hillary Roberts, Petra Janney, Courtney Otto, and Ana Anaya simultaneously cheering and pushing me to get my hands on the wall. Or the set of 30x50s fly that came two days later. Stiff from travel and sore from work-outs, we then barreled right into a meet environment. Yet there was very little complaining. Smiles abounded. Our warm up included dancing on the pool deck to Puerto Rican music, something which I am sure was quite intimidating. We didn’t look like a group of girls who just went through the trials and tribulations of a training trip. We looked like one fierce, fit unit.

I think its easy in the sport of swimming to retreat within yourself. To only think about your own races. But with these girls, team always comes first. Before each race, we cheer for every Harvard swimmer on the blocks.  During each practice, someone will yell “keep going!” or “last one, best one!” We are a group of girls who love and support one another – and happen to swim at the same time. Being a member of HWSD has been and will continue to be a defining part of who I am in college.  I am so grateful to be a member of this team and to be a part of the Harvard swimming legacy.

 

GO CRIMSON,

Dani

 

p.s. Our locker room is getting a face lift! Juniors Laura Evans and Caroline Weaver organized a new paint job with more to come…

 

Harvard_Training_Trip

Snorkeling Trip!

Training Trip 2012!

For a slideshow, go to http://newsfromthezoo.com/flagallery/training-trip/