BY EDGAR ENRIQUEZ —
The swimming and diving team won’t have to give up their annual training trip because of the destructive storms in the Caribbean.
They’re headed to Trinidad and Tobago from Jan. 3 – Jan. 10, 2018 despite the onslaught of powerful hurricanes earlier this year.
Puerto Rico endured some of the most powerful hurricanes ever in its history, leaving the island with limited power and necessities.
“You have a lot of teams that go to Puerto Rico,” Quinn Reynolds, 21, a junior and sprint free and back stroke swimmer said. “There are a lot of teams, I’m not really sure what they’re gonna be doing ‘cause that’s a big destination for training trips.”
William Paterson University’s swim and diving team went to Puerto Rico during Reynolds’ freshman year.
Initially, WPU swim team planned to train in the Bahamas during the 2016 – 2017 school year, but hurricane Matthew destroyed the facility the team would have used, according to Reynolds.
Ed Gurka, the head swimming and diving coach, made a quick change of plans and got the team into Barbados for their annual trip.
“The week that we changed everything over was very stressful for Ed,” Reynolds said. “I remember he was not in the best mood, which didn’t make it the best for us, but he was trying to get us to still go on a trip and enjoy ourselves, as opposed to some teams that go back to campus and swim for a week instead of going somewhere.”
The annual trips involve grueling training sessions for the swimmers – pools are long-course (50 meters) – as opposed to WPU’s short course of 22.86 meters (25 yards).
“I like to call it the best-worst week of the year,” Jimmy Sharkey, 19, a freshman and distance freestyle swimmer said.
Training sessions consist of five hours of practice, an hour of dryland exercises, two hours of practice right after, a break for a few hours, then another two hours of practice, according to Sharkey.
“Personally, I’m excited to explore a country I’ve never been too.” Reynolds said. “In the swimming aspect, I’m looking forward to hopefully dropping time when we get back.”
Exchanging from short to long, and back to short course pools – swimmers may find a drastic drop in lap times, according to Reynolds.
“We’re literally never apart during this training trip,” Sharkey said. “So, our friendships grow and that’s what means a lot to me.”