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Belles travel to Florida for training trip over the winter

Anna Fricano | Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The holidays may have provided a nice break from competition for Saint Mary’s athletes, but the swim team took full advantage of the opportunity to escape to warmer weather and brush up on their skills for the last half of the swimming season. The ladies cut short their time with friends and family back home to travel as a team to Islamorada, Fla., just south of Key Largo. Training took place at two different pools, one in each of the two cities, and the team usually swam in both each day. The girls enjoyed sunny, mid-seventy degree weather for the majority of the trip, which was a welcome change from the Midwestern winter.The team’s twice-a-day practices provided a level of intensity that was able to get everyone back in shape after the winter break. With everyone home for the holidays, the team’s regularly rigorous practice schedule had been abandoned for the week or so prior to the trip. Coach Gregg Petcoff acknowledged that the team may have had a bit of a struggle for the first couple of days on the trip. But he is especially proud of the initiative that the girls took to get into shape quickly. “The beginning of the trip is always a little tough on them…but they get better and better each day”, Petcoff said. The ladies were in the pool as early as 6 a.m. for their morning work-out. In addition to the morning and afternoon swims, a third session was added every third day, devoted to weightlifting.The swimmers spent the majority of their afternoons enjoying the pool at the hotel. The general consensus was to spend plenty of time resting and soaking up the sun in-between work-outs. However, the team did take advantage of a couple of sightseeing opportunities. One day, they took a trip to Key West after the morning work-out, where they spent a day walking around, shopping, and enjoying the Florida sunset. They also took a trip to a nearby beach where the ladies could enjoy the ocean water. The trip was made possible through a combination of fundraisers, teaching swim lessons, and a personal contribution made by each member of the team. Overall, Petcoff was extremely pleased with the way the trip turned out. He commented that it was “one of the best winter training trips that we’ve ever had.”