Swimming Goes South

If anything seemed like a vacation in disguise, it was the swimming and diving team’s winter training trip to sunlit St. Croix.The men’s and women’s teams packed their bags and sunscreen, and, from January 2nd to 13th, spent half of their winter break at the Country Day School in St. Croix training for the latter half of the competitive season. “The training trip is always the most critical time of the season for my teams,” coach Steve Jungbluth said. “The team dynamic, the chemistry-everything comes together on the trip. This year was no exception.”With two daily sessions in the pool-six to eight in the morning and then again at night-the squad focused mainly on building their “aerobics base,” as Jungbluth put it. Swimming alongside other college teams including Harvard, Holy Cross and RPI, the athletes were faced with challenging workouts meant to test and strengthen endurance. The presence of the other teams proved to be useful; during one of the first days of training, the Colgate women’s squad practiced with that of Harvard, ending their joint session with several relay races.In the spirit of intensive aerobics training, a one-mile ocean swim was also held in which Colgate swept the top five places on the women’s side and won nine out of the top ten spots. Senior Rich Derrick took third for the men, and Junior Amy Cole emerged from the salty waters victorious with a first place win. What seemed most important to the team members, however, was the bonding that occurred during the trip. “We stayed in condos with four to six people in each one,” captain Caroline Curtis said. “And the result of it was that the team got a lot closer in that environment; the session ended up being by far my favorite training trip.”Team chemistry is crucial to the progress and success of all athletic teams. Swimming is unique in that while it is an individual sport in terms of competition, it is also one that demands arguably the most positive collective team mentality during practices. “The swimmers are now much more focused now because of everything they’ve accomplished together,” Jungbluth commented on the close-knit relationships between team members that were strengthened by the trip to the tropics.For the squad, the main hurdle will now be maintaining their new and improved level of training, while overcoming the constant and uncompromising stresses of school-life. Coach Jungbluth considers this the biggest challenge the team has to face in the weeks ahead.”Staying as focused as we have been since the trip now that classes are starting will be crucial,” said Jungbluth. “That, and paying attention to the details as each swimmer prepares for the Conference Championship meet.”Although the gloriously sandy tans may show a physical record of St. Croix, the true effects of the trip lie elsewhere-with proof yet to come.