Swim team travels to Florida for annual training trip

Alex Holmes, Sports Editor

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Over winter break the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams went to Coral Springs, Florida for a two week training trip.
“The practices were hard, and personally felt harder as it went on but the team got in great shape,” Frank Chen, ‘18, said. “Your body goes on autopilot and gets through it. It’s easier with your teammates being all together.”
For Coach Kirk Kumbier, the hardest part of the trip comes before leaving Meadville.
“It’s the planning before the trip, as much as possible needs to be done in advance and that’s tough when you are already swamped with regular work planning for first semester practices, recruiting, fundraisers, alumni relations and handling other regular duties,” Kumbier said. “ When we’re on the trip though, I’d say it get’s a little easier, but it’s sometimes hard to get good sleep.”
Megan Feeney, ‘17, said practice meant time to get down to business but afternoons off gave the team a chance to bond at the beach.
A typical day for the team included three to five hours of training a day including a morning practice, a run or lifting session, and on most days, an afternoon practice as well.
“In Florida, while the content of practices is not drastically different from other first and second semester practices on campus, we do focus more on threshold and lactate training for the swimmers and adding more DD [Degree of Difficulty] for the diver’s lists,” Kumbier said. “This allows the athletes to come back and focus on a competition prep phase where the swimmers hone in on race pace and faster than race pace training and the divers continue to strive towards adding DD and creating the best possible list of dives for Conference.”
Chen said the team was engaged at the pool even on rough days.
“Once you’re in the pool with the team, you are motivated to work,” Chen said.
“It was black and white, we were working hard or relaxing. It really redefined the phrase eat, sleep, swim,” Chen said.
The team spent their time outside the pool bonding.
“We went from Meadville to Universal and spent a day there. Then one night we had class dinners and got to see the town and the beach,” Chen said.
In addition to intense training, the team competed in a meet against Wittenberg University.
“We had a good connection with the Wittenberg team, and it was fun to have a meet against a NCAC Conference team in Florida,” Feeney said.
The meet against Wittenberg included unique events that the teams participated in.
“The Freshmen-Senior Pineapple relay at the end of the meet is always the best part of the Wittenberg meet,” Kumbier said.

 

“We’ve been doing this meet the past three years and I think the seniors have won every year, usually it’s their experience and knowledge of the system that kicks in and allows them to walk away with the coveted pineapple.”
Chen said the team was exhausted and did not swim their best times but it was a chance to meet other people.
Feeney said the training trip got the team in the mindset to prepare for conferences.
“Florida is the hardest training we do all season and we are working to carry that momentum through the end of the season,” Feeney said.
The team is now preparing for the closing of the 2014-2015 season and the upcoming conference championship.
“We are at our tipping point. The taper is a chance to get mentally and physically ready, we are recovering and polishing,” Chen said. “It takes several weeks and we are doing race prep, easier practices and cutting out lifting.”
Feeney said after the trip and adjusting back to classes, the team is working to continue supporting each other and remain positive.
“As a freshman I’ve never seen conferences, but I am look forward to seeing how the team does. We are swimming against highly respected teams and our relays have potential,” Chen said.
Kumbier said the team is looking to go after varsity records at Conferences and improve team standings from last year.
“Both the men and women have some great shots at relay and individual records up on our boards and it will be exciting to see who wants it enough to get their name up there,” Kumbier said. “We also have some that are close or be might be close to Regional and/or National qualifying marks so we will get behind those individuals and relays.”
Conferences is an exciting time for the team and a chance to achieve the goals they have worked towards all season.
“The hard work is behind us, we have to get ready to swim there. A lot of team bonding happens now and we stay together and pump each other up,” Feeney said.
Earlier in the season Feeney was named NCAC Swimmer of the Week, and named Allegheny Athlete of the Week on Jan. 19.
“It’s an honor to represent the team. Everyone should be recognized for their contributions to the team,” Feeney said.
The upcoming meet on Sat., Jan. 24 is the team’s last home meet for this season and the senior recognition meet. The team is looking forward to the last chance to compete before Conferences.