Friday, January 15, 2010

On the road with the UWM swim team... Day 7

With the UWM swimming team down in Florida on their annual training trip, we thought it would be fun to have a member of the team share their thoughts each day on the UWM Blog.

The Panthers are in sunny Fort Lauderdale, training at Pinecrest School, both short and long course. The team hotel is right on A1A on the beach for the third-straight season. They will be on the trip through the 16th of January before resuming the regular season schedule second semester against the University of Chicago on Jan. 23.


The seventh blog entry comes from junior Ellie Gross:

The alarm goes off around 7, making my roommates and I jump out of a not-so-restful sleep to begin another day of training trip.

With no "practice is cancelled due to the weather" text we all assume that the temp must have reached a marvelous 50 degrees or above, so we venture out into the definitely not sunny Ft. Lauderdale to head to the fleet of Flexes (a very attractive type of van which slightly resembles a hearse).

After a silent drive to the pool we stretch and mentally prepare for the coming set. And then, a bit of good news for the Mid-Distance crew. We get to swim this mornings practice in the short course pool, a thing which is unheard for the Mid-D and distance crew.

What we were unaware of was how lucky we really were. With a set of 200's and 100's that increased in intensity (which we measure by the color your face turns as you swim the set ... blue comes right before max), we quickly learned that although we might be in the shorter pool, the practice was definitely not going to be easy...which of course we LOVED!!

The poor breaststrokers suffered strongly, battling massive waves from the freestylers. The backstrokers doubled that magnificent effort by battling both waves from the butterflyers and the scorching rays from the sun that beat into their poor eyes. And the butterflyers...well what more can I say other than that they had to swim butterfly for the whole set. That is the biggest battle of all.

After practice, we all moved to quickly put away our equipment bags so that we could run to the locker rooms and change out of wet battle suits into our warm relaxation clothes. Unfortunately we were stopped by the coaches telling us they had an announcement. Afternoon practice cancelled? No never!! Thank goodness! We simply had to meet an assigned coach (mine was the brilliant assistant coach Kyle) at 1 to "discuss something that cannot be explained till then."

What could this strange message mean?
We didn't have long to wait till 1 rolled around. My group met with Kyle where he explained that we each had 100 bucks (these are imaginary bucks) to bet on a series of sets for warm-up, kick, drill, transition, main set, and cool-down. Determined to not have a hard main set, I used my money wisely, resisting the urge to bet on "drawing a picture of yourself and Coach Erica on the beach" for warm-up or "a deep conversation with Dave Lake" for the kick set, or even a very tempting "red light green light with Chyla" for drill.

Some found it hard to resist even hard sets, like Mike Brady who bet 5 bucks on the longest warm-up set...way to go Ginger!! Taking whatever was left, I waited calmly for the main sets to come around, finally betting all my money on a pull-up contest with Dave Lake. A good choice I think...

Finally, the long awaited afternoon practice arrived. Some of my teammates had used their money so wisely, they didn't even have to enter the water!! Imagine how wonderful that must have been. I swam my sets, while watching my teammates cheer like maniacs, write creative poems/raps, and do strange dances around the pool deck during the rests.

Finally, the main set arrived and I finally got to get out of the water! We did rock, paper, scissors for who would get the privilege of doing as many pull-ups as possible and since I never lost, I was denied the pleasure of ripping my arms out of their sockets in an attempt to lift my chin above the bar.

Finally, Dave had us skip around the pool deck with a partner Wizard of Oz style singing "99 bottles of suntan lotion on the wall" confusing the Canadians who we share pool time with (crazy Americans) and finally ending the pull-up war.

After a quick cool-down we headed back to the hotel, stopping quickly for a nutritious meal at Wendy's. Thoroughly exhausted by the trying but rewarding day, my room went to sleep early, skipping the bedtime stories and going straight to sleep on our incredibly comfy beds.