Oct. 18, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Women's swimming and diving senior, Erin Malone, takes us to San Juan, Puerto Rico to catch up with the Villanova Swimming and Diving team as they train for their upcoming 2012-2013 season.
Blog Entry No. 2:
To the untrained eye, swimming is a lonely individual sport; hours upon hours of swimming up and down a black line, water in your ears, sun in your ears, and the single lyric of the last song you heard on the radio on repeat over and over in your own head. But all these factors merely reiterate the fact that behind every great swimmer is a strong and supportive team. Sure, we race as individuals, but we compete as a team.
After another great day of practice on Tuesday, an intense dry land workout that left everyone dripping in sweat, and a greatly needed recovery session, this morning, in the burning heat of the Puerto Rican sun, we were up on the blocks for an intense race practice. One of our most testing team set so far this week, it was not only a physical challenge, but also a mental challenge, as we watched the lactate levels rise with the mercury. Pushing our bodies through the pain and fatigue of four days of training camp, it wasn't easy climbing back up onto the block rep after rep - that's where the `team' component comes in.
Grouped in two heats of men, followed by two of women, it became a matter of pulling others, while simultaneously relying on them to pull you through the set. As the men flipped at the wall in front of us, it was our job to cheer them on and give them that energy to finish strong. As the finished at the wall, it was high fives, "great jobs", and claps to keep the feeling going. As we counted down the remaining rest until our (the women's) next rep, the boys would clap and yell words of encouragement right back at us, until it was, "take your marks, GO!"
Aside from a chance to start `putting up some numbers' (aka. Swimming some quick times), this was an opportunity for us to be reminded we are part of a team, and when we swim, it's not just for ourselves, but for each other. Wrapping up the set, there were smiles all round, from coaching staff and swimmers alike, and before long we were back on the bus buzzed with the prospect of our hard earned, and renowned training trip `afternoon off'.
The afternoon without practice brought sun, sand, and a trip to Old San Juan. The middle of the day was filled with napping, tanning, playing, and, can you believe it, more swimming (or maybe just frolicking). Always a team to rise to the occasion, by the time the sun was setting amongst the storm clouds, we were dressed in our `real person' clothes and heading into Old San Juan. Exploring the blue brick streets and admiring the colorful apartments adorning the sidewalks, we found some stunning views of the rain clouds rolling in over the city (as well as a bird man attracting well over 100 pigeons). It would seem hard to top, but even with such a great practice in the morning, a wonderful day of relaxation, and beautiful evening in the historic city, a dinner with my team mates who had come in to explore certainly capped off the most perfect day - and once again reminded me how lucky I am to be part of such an amazing team.