Oct. 12, 2010
Milligan is first up with a recap of the team's first few weeks of practice and the annual Blue/Gold Intrasquad Meet.
A new year of UCLA Swim and Dive has officially begun, and the team has kicked the year off by welcoming a bunch of new faces, beginning training, and competing in our first meet! As usual we reported for pre-season about 2 weeks before school started so that we could work on building a training base before classes and responsibilities all began. The first few days were captain's practices where everyone got to welcome our 11 new freshmen to the Bruin family and get used to being back on campus. Cyndi and our new assistant coach, Kelli Stein, then joined us on our first Friday back in Westwood. Since then we have been training away and getting fit for season.
Training started off dry land focused, but we kept it interesting by doing a variety of things. The team has been running, doing stadiums, working out with our weight coach Jill Robinson, hiking by the Hollywood sign, playing kickball, jump roping, sprinting hills, and playing razzle (a game like touch football that is everyone's favorite exercise by far). Kelli is our new assistant coach and she keeps surprising us with new abdominal workouts, new types of push-ups, and some amazing kick sets! In the water the team has been doing a lot of hard focused work as well. Our team quote for the year is a John Wooden quote that says, "It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." So far the team has truly lived up to this quote by making little changes in technique such as head position, 6-beat-kicking, tight fast turns, holding our cycle counts per lap, and staying tight through our cores. The whole team has put in some great work, made changes, and started to swim extremely fast in some challenging workouts!
Outside the pool and workouts we have been doing a lot of team building and fun activities. I am so thankful that Madison Fitzgerald's family opened their home to the whole team (40 girls in total) so that we could have our team retreat in Huntington Beach this year. At retreat the team was able to bond by doing a beach scavenger hunt, building sand castles, playing volleyball, and sharing some time going over team goals and expectations. Retreat was great and we then carried that momentum into our Blue vs. Gold competitions as we played kickball, razzle, rat/ rabbit/ raccoon, and even a belly flop competition that Ting Wen Quah was the clear winner of! We wrapped up our inter-squad competitions during parent's weekend at our first swim meet, The Blue Vs. Gold Meet. It was amazing to be back racing at Spieker Aquatics Center, and it was even more exciting because it was the first evening competition that the swim team has held at the pool. Both teams dressed up in their respective team colors and a bunch of Golden Girls and Avatars battled it out in some fun relays. In the end the gold team was victorious and the whole team (blue and gold) came together for a loud 8-clap with our amazing fans and parents.
Later that week, all of the UCLA athletes came together for our annual welcome back barbecue in Drake Stadium. During the barbecue the Don Shepherd Award is given to the teams that have the best GPA and are the most improved. This year UCLA Swim and Dive was the recipient of the Don Shepherd Award because we had the highest GPA of all the athletic teams! The whole team was extremely surprised, excited, and proud that all of our hard work in the classroom paid off. School has now started and we are working hard in the classroom while putting in the work in the pool, in dry lands, and in the weight room so that we are ready to race in our next meet on October 22.