Welcome to intersession. For all intents and purposes we are alone here on campus, with almost nothing to do but swim. We swim two practices a day for a total of four to five hours. We wake up each day at 6:30 or 7:30, depending on the schedule, and drag ourselves to the pool. Our skin burns from the chlorine and the freezing air. We are constantly exhausted. We lose track of the days of the week, with New Years and our departure for Puerto Rico being the only meaningful reference point. These are hard times. It’s hard to stay motivated, hard to get up in the morning, hard to move.
What gets us through these freezing, starving sessions at Boyden? Namely, we have each other. Intersession is about being part of a family, and it draws us closer. I learned long ago that although our goal is to win A10s in February, that is not why we swim. Personally, I swim the 50 and the 100. But I do not train 6 months for 20 or 45 seconds in February. Rather, I train each day to see the perpetual smile on Mike Glenn’s face, and to witness Brian Stiles’ unshakable resolve. I swim to laugh with Beau Garufi during warmup and swat at Alessandro Bomprezzi during warm down. And that is what makes UMass Swimming so unique, that is why we put numbers on the banner and watches on our wrists. Each person on this team swims for a higher cause, they swim for their family.
During intersession, it’s the little things that matter most. Today we did the freshman snow roll, which made 16x50s off the blocks with weight vests seem a bit more bearable. Yesterday Kyle Vieira did a get-out 100 freestyle, effectively ending practice early. Now two practices remain between us and Puerto Rico, and suddenly that doesn’t seem all that bad.
Next stop sunshine.