GVSU swim and dive trains in Florida over break

GVL / Emily Frye
Junior Gianni Ferrero

GVL / Emily Frye Junior Gianni Ferrero

Mason Tronsor

Rather than heading to Florida under the guise of sunshine and amusement parks, the Grand Valley State swimming and diving team took a journey to the Southeast for a period of hard work and training leading into the second half of its season.

The 52 student-athletes embarked on the training quest on Dec. 31. The Lakers soon arrived in Florida and went straight to work.

“The trip helped us really build up our aerobic base,” said head coach Andy Boyce. “We had two practices a day, plus dry land practice.”

The schedule was not a favorable one for a vacation trip. The team turned in two hours of work and 45 minutes of dry land and weights each day.

While other tourists were working on their tans or enjoying the beach, the GVSU swimmers and divers continued to work on technique and skill and make strides.

“It was a really sunny day outside and we could have just laid out on the beach,” said senior swimmer Nate Wagner. “We knew we had a hard practice coming up so most people went to bed and got in a couple-hour nap.”

The hard work and training were not the only ideals met by the team. The squad also used the time away from GVSU to bond with one another and create memories to last forever.

“It’s a really great opportunity for everyone to bond,” said senior Hannah Deak. “We are all in the same place for a week and all we have is each other. The practices were grueling, but we turned to each other for support.”

The team returned to GVSU on Jan. 5 tired and exhausted, but fresh and new at the same time. After all the dedication and teamwork through the tough practices and training sessions, the squad is ready to finish its season on a high note.

“I think the trip helped us figure out how to get through the hard stuff,” Boyce said. “It is key to be successful at the end of your races and finishing out the season strong.”

GVSU quickly built off its Florida training, sweeping Wayne State in Detroit on Saturday. The Lakers have another desolate stretch before hosting Findlay back at the Allendale Fieldhouse Pool on Jan. 23.

GVSU’s Last Chance Diving Meet will take place on Jan. 29-30, and will carry the Lakers into the GLIAC Championships beginning Feb. 17.

“I’m not going to predict the GLIAC meet, but we are a pretty strong team right now,” Wagner said. “I think it’s pretty apparent that we are pretty dominant right now and I think people have seen the work we have put in throughout the year.”

The Lakers’ expectations and confidence are running high across the board. The squad is poised to close the 2015-16 campaign with multiple hardware honors in the trophy case.

“This trip basically means that this is last long haul of the season,” Deak said. “This is the last push before conference. It’s the last time that we are going to be pushing 100 percent all the way.”