SAN DIEGO — A collegiate swim and dive season can be a tough and grueling experience. The workouts are difficult and the schedule is long so finding a way to take a break and regroup is essential to the team's success.
For four days during this year's winter break, the University of La Verne swimming and diving teams took advantage of the downtime and headed to San Diego to step up their training, challenge each other, and grow closer as a team.
"I've never seen a team work so hard and be so happy at the same time," said La Verne Swimming and Diving Head Coach Pat Skehan about the team's long training sessions during winter break. "They worked out six hours a day and were happy."
The squad trained at Bryan Ben Memorial Aquatic Center in Cornado in an Olympic sized pool alongside NCAA Division I schools like Air Force, Vanderbilt, Northern Colorado, and Illinois, but the swimming was just a part of the Leopards' training schedule.
After the morning pool session, the Leopards would head the beach for a yoga session, then move to the weight room for a lift, before jumping back in the pool later in the evening.
Despite the heavy training load, the Leopards still found time to explore the city and engage in team bonding activities. The squad took part in their own version of The Amazing Race that sent them to different locations across the city including Petco Park, the Hard Rock Hotel guitar-shaped Christmas tree, the National Geographic Fine Arts Gallery, and the San Diego Central Library. The teams also competed in a cooking competition with alumni and parents serving as judges.
"We mixed the teams randomly to make sure everyone got to know each other on a deeper level," said Skehan.
The squad also made a stop at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista where they met up with former Leopard diver and NCAA regional qualifier and current USA Track and Field athletic trainer Scott MacKay to go over how to reap maximum benefits from strength training and learn recovery tips.
Beyond connecting with teammates, the trip brought the swimmers and divers closer to the larger Leopard aquatics community by involving alumni and parents in the events.
Despite swimming and diving being individual sports, Skehan stresses the importance of trips like these when it comes to building team bonding and unity.
"They never compete by themselves," said Skehan. "They're always training together to make themselves better and to learn from each others' strengths. Swimming is a painful sport, you need someone in your corner."
The Leopards open the second half of their season with a home meet against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps this Saturday. The diving competition is set to begin at 10 a.m. with swimming events following.Watch Live Download the SCIAC TV App Follow ULV Athletics on Twitter Like us on Facebook Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram