Winter brings no break for RU's training
The rest of the school may get nearly a month off during winter break, but for a team with Big East Championship aspirations, there is no vacation.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team will continue to train throughout the holiday season, but do not pity them just yet.
The Scarlet Knights (2-3, 1-3) will still train as hard as ever, but they will trade the Banks for Indian Shores, Fla. The team takes the trip every two years and fundraised to pay for this training session since the last one.
"The team is definitely looking forward to our training trip to Florida," said junior Brianne Lindblad. "It will allow us to get some hard work done in the pool but also escape the school atmosphere for a little while and not worry about exams or homework."
The Knights hope the Florida weather cooperates and allows them to train outdoors, which would be a change of pace from the RU Aquatic Center. Rutgers will scrimmage Franklin and Marshall on Jan. 6 and will try to maintain their competitive nature in a locale where most go to relax.
"The training trip is usually one of the hardest weeks of training we have all season," said senior captain Jen Betz. "Usually we are too tired from practices to go do other things while we are there, but it's just nice to have a change of scenery and be in the warm weather."
Rutgers does not leave for Florida until Dec. 30, so the Knights will get some time to spend at home with their families, but that does not mean that they get to spend time away from the pool. Everyone on the team is required to train with their club teams at home during their week off and it is a safe bet that head coach Phil Spiniello will be able to tell who has been working hard.
"I wouldn't exactly call the training trip a vacation," Betz said. "We are there for one reason and that is to train hard. Our focus will continue to be on practicing and competing."
The Knights will also see some live action with a Jan. 8 matchup against Maryland. The meet takes place at a semi-neutral site in Annapolis, Md., but one would be naive to think that the Terrapins will not have some semblance of a home advantage.
"Our team is focused and I think we will be ready to go for Maryland after the training trip," Lindblad said. "Winter training takes swimming and diving to a whole new level and this will help us to prepare for the remainder of our meets this season and the Big East Championship."
The matchup against Maryland is the last road meet for Rutgers until the Big East Championship and the perfect test to see if their winter training paid off. The Knights will rely on veteran leaders like Betz to ensure that the entire team stays sharp all winter.
"I know everyone will want to push themselves to do their best," Betz said. "Hopefully, I will be able to keep everyone excited and looking forward to the rest of our season, even though training is at its toughest during this time."