Swimming and Diving - Blog of Puerto Rico Trip

Ben Collins
Ben Collins

Puerto Rico Blog Entry - Day 1 -  Monday, December 31st - Aimee St. Germain

Today WPI swim and dive began it's annual training trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Many of us arrived back on campus last night, December 30th, to prepare for our on-campus practice early this morning before our departure. There were many happy reunions among teammates and we are all so very happy to be back together after our much needed winter break.

This morning's practice was the first time back in the pool as a team since break.

After our morning workout, we quickly finished our packing and boarded the bus to Logan airport. Since we had some free time before our flight, many of us played cards, grabbed lunch and caught up with our teammates at the gate. Kayla D, Katie C, and Kate G found a brand new PinkBerry frozen yogurt location in our terminal that was giving out FREE small yogurts and toppings. Yep, you read that correctly. Free FroYo.

As you can imagine, a group of hungry swimmers would never pass up free food, especially frozen yogurt. The length of the line grew quite rapidly once the word got out to the team. Even our coach, Paul, was quite excited due to the fact that PinkBerry let him mix some of his favorite FroYo flavors.

Soon after the FroYo discovery, the team boarded the plane. While we flew, we got to watch the sunset from 39,000 feet; quite a stunning view. As soon as we touched down, we could practically feel the beautiful Puertorican humidity. Tonight we rest up for what promises to be a great week or training here in San Juan. Wishing all of you a happy New Year!

- Aimee

Puerto Rico Blog Entry - Day 2 -  Tuesday, January 1st - Keith Gagnon 

So far, there is only one word to describe this trip- exhilerating. Thus far, this trip has been so much fun. It all started last night, New Years Eve. After gettting settled in the hotel, practically the entire team headed out to a local Mexican restaurant, Taquitos, where we stuffed ourselves silly on inexpensive, yet delicious food. After that, we headed over to the beach to hang out and look for fireworks. While on the beach, we met swimmers from several other teams from all over the country who had come to Puerto Rico for their training trips and we spent over an hour playing games and talking, waiting to celebrate the New Year. As 12:01 a.m. rolled around, most of us headed back to our rooms to catch a few hours of sleep before practice at 6 the next morning.

This morning was, for lack of a better word, rough. Rousing ourselves to get to practice was not at all easy, and practice itself was quite difficult, but getting to watch the sun rise in the midst of a set of 300s... that made it all worthwhile.  After practice, the real fun began. After devouring our breakfasts, most of the team either made their way to the beach or the pool side, where we spent the next several hours playing cards, reading, splashing about and simply enjoying the wonderful weather. Then came another grueling practice, followed by a dry-land session. While this may seem like a lot, running doesn't seem quite so bad when you are running along the beach, feeling the surf beneath your toes, and sit ups and push ups are much more tolerable in the 75 degree weather. Let's face it; in the grand scheme of things, a rough practice in Puerto Rico beats ANY practice in the cold Northeast. 

- Keith

Puerto Rico Blog Entry - Day 3 -  Wednesday, January 2nd - Taylor Briseno

No matter how early you go to bed, 5AM comes around too quickly. I woke up this morning with the thought in my mind, "Liam's hair looks fantastic." Then off to practice we went, where we were separated into groups based on stroke and distance. I had the pleasure of working out with the distance group before dawn was upon us. While we were working our tails off during sprint 200s, the flyers laughed at us while vertical kicking and the backstrokers watched the sun rise during a kick set. Despite the zombie like exit from the pool at 8AM, I was still determined to spend my morning on the beach. After all, I have a competition going with Kelin to see who can get the best tan. I'm winning. 

Noon meant lunch and then off to the pool again. How bad could another 2 hours in the pool really be? I spoke too soon - I was sore after. Now, there was only one more hour of drylands between dinner and I. We didn't have to go for a long run today, but wind sprints on the football field were just as much fun. On the bus ride back we blasted the Puerto Rican song "Moré"...Since its the only one on the bus driver's CD.  Dinner. Pool. Sleep.


- Taylor

Puerto Rico Blog Entry - Day 4 -  Thursday, January 3rd - Ben Collins

When my roommate's alarm went off at 5 this morning I felt a rush of excitement and joy as I leapt out of bed, not even noticing how sore my legs were. I ran around my room, packing my things in a mad rush to get to the pool. We went downstairs to find the rest of the team alert and awake in the hotel lobby, all eagerly awaiting the bus that would bring us to the Natatorium. As I chugged my coffee and gnawed on my bagel, I reflected on how lucky I was to have a coach who would schedule practice at such a fantastic time of day. 

The bus showed up and we all piled in. This morning I got to share my tiny bus seat with two other swimmers, an enjoyable experience to say the least. 

At the pool, we met up with the women's team from Carthage. We were going to be practicing with them for the morning, and we split up into groups based on our specialities. After a little more than an hour, we got out of our regular practice so that the two teams could do some fun relays together. We began with a pretty normal relay arrangement, with a group of swimmers at each end of the long course pool. We would keep the relay going until the coaches told us to stop, swimming whichever stroke Paul called out. To nobody's surprise, Paul quickly changed the stroke to butterfly and left us swimming that for most of the relay. 

After this relay we moved on to some sillier ones. First we did a doggy paddle relay where the swimmers had to bark like dogs. After this Paul had us do a sculling relay, where you float on your back in a v-sit position with your head and feet out of the water and scull feet first. The Carthage girls seemed to think that it was a bit ridiculous, especially when we were instructed to do "butt dives" in the place of regular starts. Needless to say, we were somewhat confused by their aversion to one of our favorite drills. 

At the end of practice we headed back to the hotel. Despite how energetic I was feeling, I decided that it would be a good idea to take a nap before afternoon practice. My room woke up at one, ate lunch, and headed down to the bus. For afternoon practice we split up into groups again, and I was again placed into the sprint group where we focused on kicking. After our practice we went back to the hotel instead of doing dryland for the afternoon, which was a welcome relief. The team split up after we got back to the hotel, with some of the team taking advantage of the early end of practice to go out to dinner while others enjoyed the hotel pool. 

Tomorrow we can look forward to more pool and practice, and maybe some time at the beach!

- Ben

Puerto Rico Blog Entry - Day 5 -  Friday, January 4th - Joon-Ho Lee and Sonja Kent

At 5:00 am my alarm went off, startling myself and my roommates from the deepness of our slumbers. I hit snooze thinking there must be some mistake. 5:05 snooze; 5:10 snooze; by 5:15 I realize it's no mistake, it's just another early morning in Puerto Rico. Stumbling out of bed and crawling downstairs to breakfast, I find my teammates are just as awake as I am, moving in slow motion through the lobby. By 6:00 everyone is crowded at the edge of the lane, dreading the initial plunge into the cold water. As 8:00 comes around, I emerge from my two hours of comatose questioning why I can no longer feel my legs and why my arms cannot reach above my shoulders. The bus ride back to the hotel is full of energy as we get closer and closer to the buffet that awaits us at the hotel. Other guests stand nearby, amazed as our team eats our body weight in cube-eggs, bacon, waffles, toast, and anything else that appears to be edible. 

The weather is hot, sunny, and perfect for the beach or lounging by the pool. As I get ready to go the beach, I make the mistake of lying on my bed for a brief second. That second turns to hours it is now 12:00— lunch time. After finding the nearest loaf of bread and making a sandwich, I enjoy my lunch by the pool.  As 1:30 approaches, slowly everyone gathers eagerly for our second practice. Another 2 hours of comatose later, I find myself heading to the beach for a hour of dryland. At 5:00 we all gather by the beach as typical beachgoers, enjoying the sun and laying on the sand. This is short lived as we run and bear-crawl our way through seaweed and sand, sprint through towering waves of saltwater, and compete in the team's daily dryland Olympics. By 6:00 our legs seem to find some way to sprint to the hotel for some much needed showering and food. We no longer feel like sea monsters as the sand and seaweed is removed from the crevasses of our bodies. Still feeling hungry after dinner, we head over to a local restaurant for some exotic gelato. We enjoy interesting flavors such as coquito, pumpkin pie, hazelnut cookie, guava… and cookies and cream. Going back to the hotel, we lounge by the pool and reminisced about our time spent in Puerto Rico. By 9:00, we are too tired to stay awake. I go to bed dreaming that my alarm clock will be a mistake the next morning. 

- Joon-Ho Lee and Sonja

Puerto Rico Blog Entry - Day 6 -  Saturday, January 5th - Blake Cornachini and Abby DaBoll-Lavoie

Yet another 6 a.m. morning practice; it was pretty rough, but we all knew that our work would pay off in the end.  Paul took some pity on us and gave us a long set to work on technique, which we all greatly appreciated.  After practice we ate breakfast at the hotel, joined by our fellow hotel guests who watched in awe as the swim team created a minor food shortage at the continental breakfast.  After breakfast we took a much needed nap to refresh for another afternoon practice.  After we ate lunch we all boarded the bus and listened to our favorite song of the trip, "More." 

We walked off the bus at the natatorium slowly and dreadfully.  We all were expecting a very hard set… Paul delivered.  Despite our aching bodies, Paul's stern but encouraging poise pushed many of us to surprise ourselves with our own performance.  Our work was paying off. After a long cool down the men's team was given the opportunity to compete against Harvard, while the women's team was given the opportunity to spectate, and laugh.  The swim team optimistically headed back to the hotel with another day under its belt, and just one more day of relaxing before heading back to Worcester.

- Blake and Abby

Puerto Rico Blog Entry - Day 7 -  Sundday, January 6th - Spencer Coffin

The last practice of Puerto Rico! I'm not sure that made getting up at 5 am any easier, though.  After throwing my suit, goggles, towel, and dryland clothes into my swim bag, I headed downstairs for a quick bite to eat before we getting on the bus to the pool.  We jumped into the pool to do the normal warm-up and the water was a cold as ever.  After a short pull set, Paul allowed those brave enough to jump off the 10 meter platform.  This got us a break from swimming for a few minutes.  We finished up the practice with a few kick sets.  After swimming we got changed and headed upstairs for what we thought we be a miserable dryland workout, similar to yesterday.  Fortunately for us, all we had was the competition to see who could do the most jump-throughs.  

On the bus ride back to the hotel, the team was energized with the knowledge that we would not have practice until tomorrow afternoon.  The Macklemore hit "And we danced," blared on the radio and many of us danced and had a "really really really good time."  As usual, we tore through the hotel breakfast.  This afternoon, the team has several options for our practice off.  One group is going for a hike through the rainforest, another is visiting Old San Juan, while others chose to just relax at the beach and hotel.  While we don't have morning practice tomorrow, we still have to be leave the hotel at 4 am.  Overall we had a successful and challenging training trip, but the hard work we have put in here will surely pay off once we taper for NEWMACs.  From the WPI swimming and diving team, thanks for following us the past few days.  We have a few more days of training before our tri-meet on the 12th against Roger Williams and Regis.

- Spencer