By Scott Marino
Training trip is truly a unique time of the year for the swimming team. While we have to leave our families and friends at home after the holidays, we get to travel to Naples, Florida for some quality time as a team both in and out of the pool.
We all arrived down here in Florida on the 28th of December. Everyone made it safely, with minimal glitches in travel plans. We hit the ground running from our first afternoon practice and we haven't looked back. From a training standpoint, this is a great couple of weeks to put in a good amount of work in the pool without the distractions of schoolwork and with the added benefit of being in warmer weather while training in an outdoor facility that can accommodate the whole team at once. We are also able to train both long course meters in the morning and short course yards in the afternoon. This allows for a lot of practice variations and different approaches to workouts.
This whole year, there has been a stress on making the most out of every opportunity that is given to us. Training trip is a perfect time for the team to take advantage of a huge opportunity. We are able to workout without the stress or schoolwork and classes. Instead of having to go to a class period, we are able to use the time in between practices to recover, nap, and relax before our next workout. From speaking with my fellow teammates who swim in different groups, it is fair to say that the team has been doing some great work thus far and we are looking to finish out the next couple of days with just as great work as we started with.
Training trip is not only a great time to get in quality training, but also a time for the team to mesh together in a different environment than our own campus. This is equally as important as the training in creating a strong team culture. With more free time, we get to hang out more often with teammates we may not see as much during the busy school days. Everyone enjoyed an afternoon trip to the beach on New Years day, where we got a fair amount of sun and had a great time relaxing and hanging out with each other; surely not something we are able to do in Pennsylvania at this time of year.
While staying in Florida, we also get to room with teammates that we may have never lived with before. This allows for teammates to interact with the other guys from different classes and training groups. My fellow roommates, Matt Salig (sophomore) and Kurtis Ratcliff (freshman), are teammates who I get to train with, but don't have the opportunity to live with, so it is fun to hang out with them during our down time. Looking back upon my own freshmen year, I recall training trip as the time when I became closest with my friends and teammates. It was a time when I realized how much I truly enjoyed being around my team, even during the many hours of tiring workouts.
While we may be in for some cooler weather in the next coming days, the team has a positive outlook upon the last couple days of the trip. We know that there is still more tough training to come, yet it is not without fun times with teammates before heading back to Penn State for the start of another semester.
Penn State Proud,