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Women's Swimming And Blogging: Hawaii Winter Training Trip

Dec. 30, 2009

Follow the Notre Dame women’s swimming team during the program’s annual winter training trip. The team will be sharing experiences and insights while spending several days in Hawaii. Check throughout the trip for frequent updates.

Dec. 30, 2009
Patricia Duret
Senior – Sarasota, Fla.


We got into Oahu on Monday for our winter break training trip. We’ll be here for ten days in which we’ll train and workout hard in order to prepare for the rest of our season.

The weather here is fantastic- it has rained a little bit, but usually only for about five minutes. We’re located in a nice part of Waikiki; restaurants, the beach and shopping are all within walking range.

We travel in a school bus to and from the pool at the University of Hawaii. We also lift at the school’s weight room.

Typically, we eat at a place called Smorgy’s for breakfast. After that, we go to the university to lift weights to the sweet melodies of Bob Marley around 8:30 a.m. We then proceed to the pool to get a swim workout in at 9:30 a.m. After each practice, a “trainer of the day” gets elected – someone who the coaches feel did an outstanding job at that particular practice. That said person gets to sign a pink ukulele, which we use as a symbol of our training trip (last year we had a conch shell at the Bahamas). Amywren Miller penned the ukulele this morning due to her fantastic sprinting abilities.

After morning practice, we got to have some down time. Lauren Sylvester, Kim Holden, Amy Prestinario and I all went to the grocery store to get lunch food and snacks for our room. Then the majority of the team went to the beach, since South Bend sees limited sun exposure at this time of the year. The beach was great! It was really sunny but the water was cool, so it was a perfect combination. That’s where Meg Reynolds proceeded to tell us interesting stories about her childhood. Apparently she liked going sans-onesie as a baby, so her parents made her wear her onesie backwards so she wouldn’t undress herself! That may or may not be one of my favorite stories about Meg Reynolds.

We had another swim workout this evening at 6:00 p.m. We split into our designated groups and finished the day working hard. At this practice Ashlee Edgell did a stellar job and signed the ukulele. On the bus ride home, we sang “Happy Birthday” to Emily Barton because she turned a twenty today. We also learned that tomorrow we are going to visit a different beach as a team activity during the bus ride.

Dinner was eaten at Smorgy’s, where we ate breakfast. After dinner is over, we usually either look around the shops or go back to the hotel and get ready to go to bed.


Dec. 31, 2009
Maggie Behrens
Senior – Munster, Ind.

Today was a really fun day for the team. We’re finally adjusting to the time change, and had our first practice off this afternoon. The coaches arranged for us to head to Makapu’u beach for the day, and we got to enjoy some beautiful Hawaiian scenery. We all had our heads poking out the bus windows the whole way, taking as many pictures as possible of the gorgeous coast line. The beach and the waves were beautiful. It was a little windier then we liked, but we still had a great time.

Kellyn Kuhlke, Delia Cronin and I underestimated the strength of the waves and got thrown around and a little disoriented. My idea of a beach growing up was Lake Michigan, so sometimes I forget that although the waves look cool, it’s not the best idea to just stand there and let them hit you. I will probably have sand in my hair for the next year.

After a while in the water, we climbed out on some rocks and saw a little wildlife. Gina Mancini and Lizzie Gormley were very excited to find a coconut, and after spending a considerable amount of time trying to break it open, were very sad to discover that it did not contain any milk. We also took a lot of great team and class photos – but most of us forgot camera cords to upload them on the computer, so we’ll have to send those later.

After a great day at the beach, we got showered and dressed for a team dinner. We went to a restaurant called Tiki’s right down the block from our hotel that also happens to look out on to the water. The food was delicious! Sadly, I don’t think anyone was able to stay up until midnight, although the fireworks did wake most of us up for the New Year.

The practices and team bonding have been going well for everyone. Although there is still a lot of training left ahead, the trip has been very successful so far.

Happy New Year! Go Irish!
Maggie Behrens

Jan. 1, 2010
Ashlee Edgell
Senior – Cincinnati, Ohio

Happy New Year!

Most of us didn’t make it to midnight (Hawaii time) last night because we were all so exhausted from our adventure to the beach. However, I was awoken by the hundreds of fireworks going off on the beach, as well as the huge crowds cheering when they were all finished.

Kellyn and I stood on our balcony to watch some of them that were set off from the mountains. We started our day out at Perry’s Smorgy, just like every other day. However, since most normal people were recovering from New Year’s Eve, the university weight room was closed. So began yet another adventure that landed us at 24-hour fitness overlooking the beach. We had to do a little improvising because of the small facility but we made it out of lift alive.

We then went to go stretch on the beach while we waited for the bus. What an experience this ended up being. First, Amywren was attacked by an old lady who was determined to pour coffee all over her shoes; her motive unknown. Then Keri was pooped on by a bird. At the pool, we had one of the best practices of the trip. It was gorgeous all day, so the attitude on deck was awesome. Although the sets were all very hard, we worked through them as a team.

After practice, the majority of us went to the beach for a PERFECT day for tanning. It was sunny but windy, so we ended up staying out there up until we had to leave for practice. Back at the pool for afternoon practice caught us by surprise. We started off with a kickboard throwing contest. Will came in first place followed by Sam in second place. We warmed up a little and then Brian pulled us out of the water. Goggle toss contest. We had to see who could toss their goggles onto the flags and make them stay. Yet again, Sam and Will won. Back into the water for another set. But we were quickly pulled back out for another contest. Jump, Twist, Dive. Two people from each class were put onto the diving boards to begin the contest. The freshman chose Kim and Lauren Scott. Sophomores chose Barton and Gwen. The juniors chose Sam and Parisi. And the seniors chose Pat and me. Highlight of the game was Sam. We all knew she was on a roll for winning the previous contests, but this one topped them all. As she jumped off the board, she looked as though she was going into a dive. But Brian quickly called for a jump — result: BULLYFLOP! That was the best moment of the trip thus far. We ended practice early. The coaches gave us this fun and entertaining practice to reward us for our hard work so far. This has been the best training our team has put together so far this season. It has been a lot of fun. To end the night, we hit up Smorgy’s as usual.

Jan. 2, 2009
Megan Farrell
Senior – Hopkinton, Mass.

Aloha from Hawaii!

Today we ate at Smorgy’s as usual for breakfast and then headed to the pool on our school bus for our morning workout. After having had a recovery workout on Friday afternoon we all knew we were in for a tough one. The sprinters and middle distance swimmers trained with parachutes and did speed work and the distance swimmers did a 400IM workout. All groups finished practice up with an intense kick set which all the coaches were very impressed with.

After practice we went back to the hotel to have lunch which most of us just make in our rooms. There is a grocery store right near Smorgy’s which is very convenient. After lunch I went to the beach with my roommates Delia Cronin, Katie Casey and Lauren Scott. We met up with the rest of our teammates on the beach and attempted to get rid of our Speedo tan lines by laying out for the afternoon. Delia and I also bought water tubes, one hot pink and one lime green, so we lounged in the waves on our rafts!

After a couple hours at the beach I headed back to the hotel with most of the girls on the team so we could rest for an hour before our “meet” with Hawaii. Our meet was really just a lactate set that we did with the University of Hawaii women’s team. Depending on the individual, the set was either 6×50, 6×100 or 6×200 all out off the block. Everyone really stepped up and raced which was great to see at the end of a tough day of double workouts. The girls from Hawaii were awesome and were really excited to be training with us. It was great to get to interact with another team during a workout and to see how they encourage one another.

The best part of the afternoon was that since practice ran late Smorgy’s closed before we got there so we had dinner at Chili’s! Everyone was happy to get to choose whatever they wanted for dinner rather than eating buffet food. I had the pleasure of eating dinner with Gracie Fredlake, Lauren Scott and Meg Reynolds. Meg can not pour water from a pitcher and spilled more water than she got in her cup two times throughout the meal. I also learned the story of how Meg’s parents met and about her dream wedding … what a dinner!

After Chili’s we all went back to the hotel dreaming of our day off tomorrow!

That’s all for now!
Megan Farrell

Jan. 3, 2010
Gina Mancini
Senior – Falmouth, Maine

Today we were given the entire day off from practice and it turned out to be the best day we have had in Hawaii thus far, as well as the most eventful.

We loaded up the tour buses bright and early for an 8:00 a.m. departure from the hotel for the Kualoa Ranch, which has been considered from ancient times to be one of the most sacred places on Oahu.

After about a 45-minute drive, we took part in four activities previously selected by the coaching staff including ATVs, movie sites and ranch, jungle expeditions, and horseback rides. Each activity was about 40 minutes to an hour long and was full of gorgeous views, the photo opportunities were endless, and believe me when I say we got every picture, pose, snapshot possible. I’m pretty sure everyone’s camera battery has just about died from all the picture taking, and that there are 500 copies of each of them. All about the memories, I guess.

The movie sites and ranch tour included a narrated excursion into famous Ka’a’awa Valley where movies such as Jurassic Park, Godzilla, 50 First Dates, and other Hollywood blockbusters were filmed.

The horseback ride was a little scary for some, and most people participated through scenic ocean and mountain views. Each horse had its own name and personality. Many of them were given really cool, authentic Hawaiian names – mine was Pete – and he was slow, lazy, and in a bad mood constantly trying to bite the horses in front of me. But it was a great experience regardless since I was not bucked off at any point. However, we all expect to be extremely sore tomorrow.

The ATV activity led us though forest and trails, again providing amazing views. We had to wear helmets while riding, so that provided plenty of excellent hilarious pictures. One of the tour guides collected a native fruit for us long the way and we were all able to try it (I forgot the name) but it tasted tart. Finally, the jungle expedition was an off-road tour into secluded areas on the ranch that are not accessible through any other tour. Again, I cannot talk enough about the amazing views. For any fans of the show Lost, they are always filming at this ranch, and no one is allowed within a mile of the film sites, pretty much shutting down all the tours during that time.

By the end of the day we were all pretty exhausted, but that didn’t stop us from looking fabulous and heading for a class night out accompanied by a member of the coaching staff. Each class went to a different restaurant. The seniors were accompanied by Brian at Shorebirds, which we were all huge fans of because once you order your meat or fish, they tell you how long to grill it for and you do the grilling yourself, it’s a pretty cool experience, and delicious I might add. It was a great way to end the day off, and now we are ready to finish up the rest of training trip.

Jan. 5, 2010
Keri Masterson
Senior – West Hempstead, N.Y.

Today was nice and sunny. The team met up outside our smorgasboard hot spot before swim practice. Most people ate there, but a few people went to the restaurant Mac-24/7 in the Hilton Hotel for breakfast. They serve massive pancakes at Mac, and if you can eat all three pancakes that are 14 inches wide and 1 inch thick, you are called a “Mac Daddy”.

Kellyn, Meg, Gina Mancini, and Amywren Miller attempted this challenge as a team. They had two orders of pancakes and ate about five of the pancakes. No Mac Daddys in this group, but there were some Man vs. Food chants.

Later, on the smorgy curb, Kellyn decided to test Meg’s limits with a jab to the stomach, but there was no pancake reversal from the Reynolds rapper. Lizzie harmonized the team with her version of blame it on the smorg, and we went to practice.

It was a mellow morning, and we had a recovery swim. I took some of this time to play with the lawn chair that was floating in the bottom of the pool. Delia Cronin, Gwen Blythe and I tried to launch each other in the chair. It wasn’t too successful in the deep end, but we did get some height in the shallow end. Meg Reynolds took this time to reflect on the noises on the pool deck. She pointed out the distinct “lazer gun” sound of the contraption to keep the birds away and proceeded to make Star Wars references for the rest of practice and even threatened to come after me with her light saber.

Most of the team went on a day trip to the north shore. On the way there, I corn rowed Lauren Parisi’s hair, and she looked so thug some natives started to call her “Lwow”. We stopped at a few beaches with awesome waves and saw part of pipeline.

Then we went to a little town nearby and shopped for a bit. Before we went back to the hotel we stopped at the Dole Plantation, where they grow the pineapples. There was a pretty cool gift shop, and the pineapple soft serve was real good. Maggie Behrens bought pineapple ice cream and juice that came in a collector’s pineapple cup, which you’ll be seeing at our place next semester.

When we got back, everyone went to dinner. Oh, what a day.

Jan. 6, 2010
Zeina Shanata
Senior – Gainesville, Fla.


Today was our final full day in Hawaii and it was a successful one!

When we woke up this morning it was actually a rainy, grey day but we decided to brighten things up with an awesome morning practice. For the most part everyone did a threshold freestyle set and excelled tremendously. The minute we finished practice the clouds completely rolled right on out and left us with amazingly beautiful afternoon forsome fun.

Seeing as were heading back to the slightly less sunny South Bend tomorrow some of the girls decided to soak up some rays. Keri and Maggie decided to go to Mac 24-7, a breakfast joint that made an appearance on Man v. Food for their infamous stack of three 14-inch pancakes. As big of an appetite as swimmers have they just weren’table to put down their delicious chocolate chip banana pancakes.

Ashlee, Amywren, and Lauren Scott decided they would test their luck riding some waves. They rented a few boards and paddled right on out. Ashlee, who could clearly give Kelly Slater a run for his money, popped right on up only to swan dive face first into the ocean. They all had a blast and plan to maybe sneak some surfing in tomorrowbefore we leave for the airport.

Megan and Gina decided to wrap up their afternoon buying themselves a gift from Tiffany’s in celebration of completing their fourth and final training trip. Since both of them have great taste they got exactly what they were looking for from the saleswomen who they questioned a billion times until they got what they wanted from the back. Needless to say the purchases the made were very cute.

While some of us tried to get rid of our speedo tan at the beach a few of the girls on the team went to the Pearl Harbor memorial. I happened to go to this memorial freshman year and remembered it being really emotional and moving. Everyone that made the trip today really enjoyed the experience and got the chance to view a little piece of American history.

After a fulfilling afternoon we headed back to the pool for a power/speed workout. We pulled out some parachutes and got to work. We ended the workout with one heck of alung buster, doing a bunch of underwater work, and called it a day.

As we headed to our final dinner at the ever so delicious Smorgy’s, we all realized we have to start packing and getting ready for our very long flight home.

Overall, this has been the most successful and rewarding training trip I have ever been a part of. As our time in Hawaii dwindles away it is a bittersweet moment for all the seniors.

Our first training trip together was here freshman year, and it is here where we end our training trip adventures. It’s been an awesome ride and all the hard work we all put in these last few days is going to lead us well into our next three dual meets, and most importantly BIG EAST. Training trips always give the team a chance to really get together and become a family, so as we head back to Notre Dame I can easily say (in Hawaiian) that we are a much stronger `ohana’ than we were when we got here. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of our season.That’s all for now!