Courtesy of Trevor Ziegler
With Christmas in the books and the New Year rapidly approaching, training trip season is upon us! Now, as a naive young freshman, I had to learn the hard way the many do’s and don’ts of proper training trip etiquette. Through four years of painstaking trial-and-error (and lots of poolside naps), I have put together the ultimate survival guide for training trip newbies. Below you will find a plethora of useful tips to ensure you get the most out of your trip. You’re welcome.
1. Research The Area
The best way to get the most out of your training trip is to conduct hours of research on the area you will be staying. Once the proper research has been accumulated and heavily-scrutinized, forget ALL of it. With a grueling schedule of daily doubles and grind-or-die workouts, taking a nap by the hotel pool will always trump that 4 hour walking tour of the [name popular training trip city here] historic district.
2. Manage Your Spending Money Wisely
…the first couple of days, then recklessly abandon your pre-planned budget and spend it on silly hats, local cuisine, and the roulette table at the hotel casino. There’s no shame in spending the last 3 days of your trip eating PB&J’s and dollar menu items. Plus, I’m pretty sure the casinos offer free sandwiches to their loyal customers.
3. Not Sure What to Bring? Overpack
I recommend overpacking if you think you’ll need to use your suitcase as a pillow while you’re sitting around the airport waiting for that connecting flight home. If not, go light. I once witnessed a brave soul bring nothing but toiletries, an equipment bag, board shorts, and two t-shirts. We all doubted him, but he singlehandedly silenced all naysayers by surviving the entire trip with his minimalist approach. In doing so, he inspired a new generation of trailblazing (albeit, somewhat stinky) training-trippers.
4. Be Sure to Engage in Strenuous Physical Activity In Between Practices
There’s nothing more fulfilling than an all-day surf-sesh sandwiched in between two-hour longcourse practices. Except for maybe the sleep you’ll be getting that night.
5. Try to See Friends from Other Teams
In reality, there are really only a couple of places that teams travel to for their training trips. Chances are, you’ll have a friend from club swimming in the same area, taking part in their own training trip. It is important to get in touch with them and let them know you will be in the area so you can later send them texts such as: “You just missed us”, “I think we’re gonna go tomorrow instead”, “Sorry, I just took a nap” or the classic “I can’t go, I have practice tonight.” It’s the thought that counts, right?
6. Take Lots of Pictures
Nothing will make your non-swimmer friends more jealous than posting hundreds of Instagram pictures set in an exotic location. Little do they know that when you’re not frolicking on the beach or checking out popular attractions, you’re undergoing the most physically and mentally strenuous training of the year. It’s important to leave that part out.
7. Find Your Happy Place
As fun as it can be, training trip can also sometimes be a fairly stressful ordeal. What with all the hard swimming and mandatory interaction with your teammates. It’s important to take a step back and enjoy some “you” time. I recommend lying in a hammock and listening to 1989. Because at the end of the day, Taylor Swift is the only one that really gets you.
There you have it; the ultimate guide to surviving your training trip. And if none of what I said above sounds appealing, please just have fun, be safe, and swim hard.
Trevor Ziegler is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he also swam for the Minutemen. In addition to being well-immersed in the swimming world, Trevor is also a self-proclaimed pop culture aficionado. He spends most of his time brainstorming how he can write about both his favorite bands/tv shows and swimming in one coherent article.