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ND Women’s Swimming: Training trip to Hawaii builds team chemistry

Matt Unger | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Collegiate winter breaks can put college swimming teams at a disadvantage with over a month between meets and much time out of the pool. To prevent this lag time from hurting team performance, most programs take one to two week training trips to warm weather climates. Notre Dame is no exception, as the team travelled to Hawaii for its annual 11-day training excursion.

This marked the team’s third consecutive year traveling to Hawaii. The trip served the dual purpose of improving performance and building team chemistry, according to Irish assistant coach Kate Kovenock.

“[Traveling to Hawaii] to train really allows us to take advantage of a large block of time to both train hard and come together as a team,” Kovenock said. “The team’s personality really develops.”

Notre Dame partnered with the University of Hawaii to use its facilities and training rooms. It also helped that Irish strength coach Elisa Angeles had connections with coaches at Hawaii.

“While some teams travel to Puerto Rico or the Bahamas, which may be closer, it is definitely worth it [to go to Hawaii] as we have guaranteed weather and top-notch Division I training facilities at our disposal,” Kovenock said.

While the Irish did not face Hawaii in a dual meet, they did hold a combined practice with the Warriors’ swimming and diving team.

For the duration of the trip, the Irish followed a set routine of opening each morning with a two-hour practice session. After morning practice, the team explored the surrounding beaches and area. Each day closed with a night practice session.

“Everyone benefits from extra training, but the freshman class definitely benefits the most,” Kovenock said. “Living with fellow swimmers and hanging with the coaches allow the freshmen to develop.”

Kovenock said the Hawaii training trip also helped the Irish refocus their energy on the remaining part of the season, which quickly concludes in February with the Big East conference championships and in March for those who advance to the NCAA championships.

“One of the best parts of the trip is seeing our swimmers at ease without the stress of academic work,” Kovenock said. “The trip also builds a real family atmosphere.”

Although the Irish fell to Michigan and Northwestern in their first double dual meet following the trip, they dominated Michigan State in a dual meet Jan. 21, winning 218-82.

The Irish face Ball State in Muncie, Ind., on Saturday at 1 p.m. for their final dual meet prior to the Big East championships.

Contact Matt Unger at [email protected]