The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, right? Well, let’s just say that for swimmers it’s debatable because winter can only mean one thing: training camps. That’s right- tis’ the season for crazy training schedules, pain and permanent fatigue.
Training camps really don’t seem so bad on the surface. A chance to jet set off to a tropical destination with some of your closest team mates actually sounds pretty fun. In fact, a lot of my non swimming friends refer to it as a ‘vacation’. What they don’t realize is that it entails multiple hours each day dedicated solely to working out. Any breaks that we get between practices are usually used for napping or icing sore muscles.
Training outdoors is a nice change in scenery, but it also means that instead of a perfect sun-kissed tan, we have to show up back at school with raccoon eyes and unflattering swimsuit tan lines. Not to mention the fact that beautiful weather means the chance to do plenty of dry land training. Enjoying the sunshine by running back to the hotel after a workout, or doing some quick circuits before going in the water is every swimmer’s worst nightmare. We find ourselves praying to the thunder and lighting gods, hoping that the weather might be on our side and help us get practice cancelled.
Additionally, instead of packing cute bikinis or designer sunglasses to wear on the beach, our suitcases are filled with training gear. Deciding which clothes to pack is easiest when you’re headed to a camp, since workout clothing is essentially all you need. It can be hard to fit everything into a suitcase, though, since packing fins, a kick board, paddles, a pull buoy, etc. can take up a lot of room. In fact, my coach even makes us bring our own medicine ball!
So please, this holiday break I hope that Santa gives the gift of not-too-difficult training camps to all of the competitive swimmers out there.