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January 4, 2012 / umbcdawgblog

Swimming and Diving Goes to SoFla

Glitz and glamour.  Flash and style.  Land of the rich and famous.  A place for LeBron to take his talents (I couldn’t help it).  Yep, that’s South Florida.  But what about early wake ups, four hours of training and nine o’clock bedtime?  Yep, that’s South Florida too, at least it is for UMBC’s swimming and diving teams.  Not exactly your average Florida “vacation”, but hey, it’s better than staying home, right?

Just another predawn swim

Looking to sweep the America East Championships for the fourth time in the six years, this was for the most part a business trip for the Retrievers.  Sure the beach was there to get a little R&R between sets, but that was the extent of fun.  No bars.  No night clubs.  Only the occasional bowling and mini golf excursions.

With daily wake up coming at a not so restful 5 a.m., the athletes knew they were in for the long haul early.  With a two hour practice from 6-8  staring them in the face, the omelette breakfast waiting back at the hotel thankfully provided a little extra motivation.  One of the most often heard phrases of the week, “I can’t wait for breakfast”, rang out for the entirety of the day.  Whether the athletes were climbing into the van on the way to practice, or immediately after finishing that day’s first meal, the importance of breakfast was evident.

Junior Pat Bryan catches a fish with his bare hands

Post-breakfast activities differed according to which athlete you talked to.  Some preferred the complete darkness of the hotel room, while others kicked back with the cool ocean a few feet away.  Heck, junior Patrick Bryan decided to go fishing… with his bare hands.  The break never lasted along enough however, and  that van pickup of 1:15 was  quickly approaching.  After fighting lovely Boca traffic, another two hour practice was at hand.   Round 2.  Fight!  And that’s exactly what the swimmers did, fight, because each one knows what is at stake.

It’s easy to think, “Uh oh, college kids in South Florida.  Hope they don’t get in trouble.”  But this is a motivated group.  And oh yeah, that 5 a.m. wake up.  But overall, the team knew the point of the trip, and Allen Iverson would not like it.  Yes, we’re talking about practice.

So while all of the distractions were there for the team to go off the deep end (I went there), this was a business trip.  Sure some fun was had along the way, but but pain seemed to be the more prevalent feeling.  5 a.m. is never an easy wake up.  Add in a two hour practice (three with dry land workouts sprinkled in) and that’s was the swimming diving team called a vacation.  What did you do for New Year’s?


One Comment

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  1. Roy D. / Jan 5 2012 4:20 pm

    Go Retrievers – Hard work will win the Conference – again!
    See you in Boston!!

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