Four Swimmers Share Stories from Training Trip

Ridley Eastland-Fruit, Sports Reporter

Ten days of grueling workouts in Southern California marked Whitman Swimming’s winter break training trip. Four swimmers characterize their experiences and growth, both in and out of the water.Contributed by Jill Low


Jonah Rodewald, junior


While there is no question about the brute physicality expected from each and every one of us during this excursion, I think we all find ourselves looking back with longing at the simplicity of it. All there was to do was eat, sleep and swim, in that order.


The nights spent outside eating enormous burgers in downtown Claremont, or the afternoon settling down with some fish tacos by the Santa Monica pier ride in the back of our minds as we return to the muckiness of winter in Washington.


But not all memories of the trip are of sunshine and beaches, those which readily come to mind from our short stay in Coronado. The nine days of doubles practices cannot be easily forgotten, as this trip represented the peak in our training this season. From here on out, our taper down to the NWC Championship meet will rely on the work we put in in California. This causes both comfort and a bit of apprehension. A major hurdle of the season has been crossed, but what lies ahead is the most mentally demanding part of our season. But the bonds we formed with our teammates during the 10 uninterrupted days spent solely together are there to help push us along, and that is worth every bit of sweat, tears and maybe a little bit of blood the trip took out of us.


Running through the Seattle airport searching for a bus to take us home, swimming two against twelve in the 100 breaststroke during our CMS meet, and every other small moment of connection we all experienced together as teammates made this grueling training trip completely worth it.Contributed by Jill Low


Jared Sears, senior


If there is a time and place where the most bonding on swim team happens, it’s definitely during training trip. While it does sound like fun teambuilding, I would not call the trip glamorous. Outside of a beach day and short rest period the trip is largely characterized by grinding out swim sets. In a word, it’s just hard. Easily the most difficult part of the season.


The rigorous schedule stands in sharp contrast to the comfort of the winter holidays. Each day goes eat swim eat-sleep-swim-eat sleep-repeat. The team works out twice a day, exercising anywhere from two to three hours per practice. Tens of thousands of yards are covered and drilled. We get our butts handed to us by any number of viciously fast California teams. It weighs mentally, physically and emotionally on everyone.


As you can imagine, this does not produce the happiest of campers. We get to see our teammates at our most tired, our most hungry and least level-headed. I would like to say we all come out of this experience as the jolliest of friends, but that would not necessarily be reflective of reality. Rather, something more important is formed over training trip: a cohesive team.


The weight of training trip brings out the true character of each swimmer. When pushed to the limit, the kind of person you are begins to show. We each know where our breaking points are and when we can push just a little further. Paragraphs of information can be communicated in just a look of the eyes or shake of the head. I can talk to anyone about anything because after training trip I know each of my teammates and I trust them. In addition to making us excellent swimmers, training trip brings us all together and remains a personal favorite memory of my college experience. Contributed by Jill Low


Becca Hoffman, sophomore


By far, my favorite part of training trip is the occasional reprieve with a few brief trips to the beach. It’s always easy to pick out the locals from the swimmers. Our swimmers tend to rush into the ocean and attempt and in my case fail to body surf. Many locals tend to huddle on the beach covered up in Uggs and puffy sweaters and judge from a safe distance. Of all the beaches we visited, my personal favorite would have to be the Coronado beach with views of the Navy Seals training, the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful Hotel del Coronado.  While training trip definitely sent me tumbling in the waves, literally and figuratively, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.Contributed by Alex Izbiky


Miranda Williams, first year


The team and coaches started talking about training trip pretty much as soon as the season was underway… that’s how I knew it is a really big deal. As our season progressed, practices were increasingly more challenging. A couple weeks before training trip, I recall asking “how much harder do practices get?” My wonderful teammates then replied, “oh, Miranda… much harder. Wait until training trip!”


I’m going to be honest here and say that this is the time I started to get nervous. Was I even going to be able to lift myself out of the pool after practice? Would I throw up on deck? What if I passed out? What if it’s not fun? These thoughts and more overwhelmed me for a bit until I decided to push them aside and think about the positive aspects of the trip and pack for California.


Training trip was my first time ever in California so when we left the airport, there was a lot for me to absorb. Traffic! Palm trees! Skyscrapers! The Hollywood Sign! There are no words to describe how excited I was to be able to go to the beach. I was literally in heaven. Plus, both pools we swam in were absolutely gorgeous outdoor pools!


Anyway, the team was right. The training we did in California was definitely the most physically and mentally demanding training of our season. For days on end, all we did was eat, sleep, train, and repeat. Yes, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to lift myself out of the pool. Yes, I thought I was going to throw up right there on deck. Yes, I thought I was going to pass out. Sometimes, it wasn’t very fun. However, I cannot express how proud I am to be a member of this team and to be a part of what we accomplished over training trip. We not only made it through the most challenging part of our season, we made the most of it and made huge improvements as a team. Now I know that we are going to have an effective taper and a phenomenal end to our season. Roll Blues!Contributed by Jill LowContributed by Jill Low