No days off for athletes over winter break

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No days off for athletes over winter break

AU Swimmers train over winter break at the YMCA of Central Florida in Orlando.

AU Swimmers train over winter break at the YMCA of Central Florida in Orlando.

SUBMITTED BY: ELIZABETH PALMER

AU Swimmers train over winter break at the YMCA of Central Florida in Orlando.

SUBMITTED BY: ELIZABETH PALMER

SUBMITTED BY: ELIZABETH PALMER

AU Swimmers train over winter break at the YMCA of Central Florida in Orlando.

David Amsden

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The Ashland University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams traveled to Orlando, Fla. over winter break for their annual training trip. It’s a time for the team to train, laugh, travel and make memories as a team.

On the morning of Dec. 31 at 2:30 a.m., the team departed from Ashland, Oh. to fly down to
Orlando, Fla.

Over winter break, regular students have the chance to relax at home and sleep in until the late hours of the morning. However, for AU swimmers and divers, they spend their winter breaks a little differently.

Each morning, the swimmers were up early with the first practice starting at 6 a.m. that would last for two hours. Six hours later the Eagles found themselves back in the pool from 2-4 p.m., for their second practice of the day.

Instead of swimming in the comfort of their own pool of Messerly Natatorium, for five days the swimmers called the YMCA of Central Florida their home.

On top of the intense pool workouts, for two days the teams participated in dry land practices which included a variety of exercises involving jump roping, push ups, core exercises and more.

To fund the trip that is held annually for the team, the athletes themselves hold fundraisers and raise money in the late summer and throughout the fall semester to help pay for the trip. Some of the fundraisers this year was a golf outing and working at a few of the home AU football games.

“Most college teams in the cold country go someplace warm to train during winter break,” head coach Ron Allen said. “The team members pay for that themselves so it is up to them where they decide to go. I honestly don’t care where we are, away or at home, as long as we are training together.”

Training together is what the team treasures most, and the amount of smiles and laughter throughout the trip can be a testament to that.

While in Orlando, the swimmers stayed in two different houses that were rented out, one for the men and one for the women. Each house was equipped with it’s own pool along with all of the living necessities necessary for a comfortable stay.

Between practices, teammates spent time hanging out at either of the houses, cooking meals, or just relaxing.

“My favorite part was simply being with the team,” sophomore swimmer Anne Evans said. “Each house would make all their own meals, except one dinner when we ate out at a restaurant.”

SUBMITTED BY: ELIZABETH PALMER
AU Swimmers spent time hanging out at the Pirates Cove one evening in Orlando.

Although there was a lot of serious training, a lot of joy was brought out from the experience. When the swimmers were not training or filling their athlete-size appetites, they spent more time in the local pools hanging out and testing the water slides as well as other bonding experiences.

“We also had a freshman talent show after one of our dinners which I loved,” Evans said. “It made me feel a lot closer to all the people I already thought of as my family.”

After five tough days of training the teams were given a half day where there was only one practice instead of two. Everybody was given the option to either relax or to have fun at Universal Studios.

However, some of the best memories made did not include any elaborate adventures, but rather the simple van rides to and from practice filled the swimmers with excitement and happiness.

“Honestly, the van rides to and from the pool might have been the most fun,” junior swimmer Aaron Bradfield said. “Each ride was its own experience of team mischief, wild Orlando traffic, and laughs.”

Unfortunately everything eventually comes to an end and on Jan. 6 the Eagles flew back to the much colder Ohio only to attend classes the next day.

In their first meet of the new year Ashland competed at home at Messerly Natatorium on Jan. 11 where they dominated every section of the pool. The men’s team defeated Tiffin 106.50-98.50 while the women defeated Ursuline 144-29 and Tiffin 143-17.

The Eagles will be back in the pool on Friday (Jan. 18) against Malone and Urbana at Messerly Natatorium at 4 p.m.

Highlights of the winter break training trip can be found by going to Youtube and searching “Ashland University Swimming and Diving Training Trip 2018-2019.”

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