On Dec. 31, 2019, 10 swimmers and two coaches of the Kingswood Oxford Swimming and Diving team gathered bright and early at Bradley Airport to travel to Orlando, Flo. for their 30th annual training trip. They kicked off the new year by spending six days training hard and had fun together. They returned on Jan. 5, 2020.
The team swam at the Rosen Family YMCA Aquatic Center. Each day they had two practices: a morning practice from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., or 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., depending on if there was an activity planned in the afternoon or not, and an afternoon practice from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
According to science teacher and swim coach Alex Kraus, having two practices a day provided the students on the trip some more challenges and room to grow. “If someone is doing way more workout[s] during a day than they are used to, then they will adapt and grow to that,” he said. “There are a lot of education pieces to the trip.”
The pool’s dimensions were 50 meters by 25 yards, which allowed for long course meters practice in the morning and short course yards practices in the evening. “The long course 50 meters practice definitely provided additional challenge, as we normally swim in short course 25 yards,” senior Co-captain Marwynn Somrdhivej said. “Not only is each lap a little more than twice as long, we lose an extra flip turn in the middle, so it provides some more challenge to the workout.”
Traveling to Florida as a team allowed for team bonding. “It’s better if you travel and if you have the team be the main focal point of the six days, being with one another, and team bonding being the focal point for those six days,” Coach Kraus said. “So then people aren’t at school, aren’t at home. Being with one another and doing the workouts becomes the main part of the day and I think it has a really positive effect,”
On two of the days, there were activities planned for the team: a visit to Aquatica, and a visit to Seaworld. On the days that no afternoon activities were planned by the coaches, the members of the team decided to find things to do on their own.
For example, on the second day, the boys played mini golf and the girls went indoor skydiving. “These activities gave us time to have fun and spend time together. It certainly allowed for team bonding which was one of the focal points of the trip,” Marwynn said.
Coach Kraus said his favorite part of the trip was seeing how the trip allowed for change and growth in his swimmers.
“That change doesn’t always happen down in Florida,” he said. “Sometimes the impact happens in Florida and the change happens two weeks, three weeks later.”
The team looks forward to seeing the impacts of the Florida trip inside and outside of the pool.