Jan. 2, 2013
January 1, 2013
Greetings from Honolulu! I’m senior Jared Anderson, and over the next few weeks, I get the opportunity to give Gopher fans back home a little sneak peek into our lives during training trip. It’ll be a blogging adventure full of both the exciting and the mundane (as quite a bit of our time, shockingly, is spent swimming and sleeping), and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I’ll enjoy writing it!
First, some basics: our training trip is organized based on a complex and highly-scientific 3-phase training plan. First we swim really hard, then we swim really hard some more, and finally we go back to swimming really hard again. Right now we’re in the Swimming Really Hard Phase. We swam twice today, and we’ll continue the schedule of doubles for the next 3 days, (adding an hour of weights between practices) before getting our first single-practice day on Saturday. The regimen can look daunting to us at times, but for the most part we’re actually excited to hit the pool hard, knowing that this is our final training push before NCAAs and Big Tens. While it’s a fun trip and a nice break from winter weather, our training trip is mostly exciting because we know how much three weeks dedicated entirely to training can improve us as swimmers and divers. As we decided at the airport, we’ll arrive here as boys, but leave as slightly larger, more muscular boys.
Our adventure began on New Year’s Eve with an early morning swim session in Minneapolis before hopping a team bus to the airport. 8 hours of flying and a 3-hour, Pokémon-fueled layover in L.A. later, we landed in Honolulu, Hawaii. Unfortunately, not many of us were able to stay awake long enough to bring in the New Year, as the time change made midnight feel more like 4 A.M. to us Midwesterners, but just being able to walk around outside in shorts and a T-Shirt in January was a nice consolation for giving up a New Year’s tradition.
2013 greeted us with morning practice and an odd mix of sun and misty rain. The coaches looked a bit uncomfortable standing on deck in the rain calling out sets – we, being the gracious and thoughtful swimmers we are, offered to cancel practice and let the coaches go back into the dry indoors, but for some strange reason, they weren’t too keen on that idea.
After a solid 8,000 yards we were off to the grocery store. Our first grocery store trip is a little bit like a cloud of locusts descending on a leafy tree - one moment, the store is empty and the next, there’s a Gopher in every aisle pushing a brimming shopping cart and clearing the shelves of everything edible. If there’s a rule that you should never go grocery shopping hungry, there needs to be a subset to that rule: you should never, ever, go grocery shopping immediately after a two-hour training trip swim practice. On a happier note, though, we are proud to announce that we’ve singlehandedly put Safeway Foods in the black for all of 2013 on the very first day of the year.
The time between practices was mostly spent hauling our newly-acquired groceries from the team vans, up the busy elevators and into our rooms at the 444, the 23-story condominium we stay in each year. It’s a bit like a session in the weight room: sweating swimmers, arms loaded down with at least ten plastic Safeway bags each, straining to hold up the weight as the elevator slowly inches its way skyward. Luke Bushman and I did arm curls with our bags the whole way up, because you can never neglect an opportunity to work on your biceps.
Our second practice saw us splitting off into some more specific training groups. The male and female sprinters practiced at Punahou High School, a beautiful facility not far from our condo. At the University of Hawaii’s aquatic facility, the milers repeated 1100s at one end of the pool, the mid-distance freestylers tackled an aerobic set at the other, and my breaststroke group joined the other stroke specialists right in the middle for a stroke-oriented set. There’s something awe-inspiring about watching your teammates up and down the pool pushing themselves to the limit in their own specific stroke and distance. It’s a special feeling to be a part of a whole-group effort like that, and it’s one of the biggest things I’ll miss about college swimming.
We’ve got a great schedule of training ahead of us, and hopefully I’ll be checking in periodically to update you on our latest adventures and fiascos, plus whatever crazy sets Kelly has drawn up for us the previous few days. Stay tuned and go Gophers!