The Dartmouth Women’s Water Polo team is headed to San Francisco, CA for the week of March 17th for our annual training trip! We will be posting pictures and updates here everyday of the trip as a blog of all of the hard work (and fun!) that we have in the Bay Area.
This has been a pretty long and cold winter for all of New England, so suffice it to say that the Dartmouth Women’s Water Polo team was excited to leave the negative temperatures and mountains of snow in Hanover for the sunshine in the Bay Area of California. We arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston in plenty of time, thanks to swim coach Jim Wilson’s generous offer to chauffer the team.
After a painless cross-country flight, the team arrived in San Francisco and was whisked off to Cat Donahoe’s (’15, #11) house by the Wenzels, Bigleys, and Rennels. We are incredibly lucky to have so many families of players willing to support the team on our training trip, so that everything including transportation from the airport and most meals are being generously provided to the team. In fact, upon arriving at the Donahoe’s and despite of not having practiced all day, the team put a dent in the mountain of chips, cereal, granola bars, and other goodies waiting for us. After finally eating our fill, the team divvied up the beds and crashed. Day one of Training Trip 2014 could go down in the books as a success, boding well for the rest of the week.
The symphony of alarms that went off around the room at 6:45am were not nearly as painful as they could have been; everyone was anxious for the first practice of training trip (and we were still on east coast time)! After quickly changing into suits and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed out for Sacred Heart Preparatory High School, the alma mater of Lisa Rennels (’14, #9), Cat Danoahoe (’15, #11), and PJ Bigley (’17, #15). The school has beautiful facilites, a perfect place to kick off training trip practices.
After a hard practice, everyone was excited to get back to Cat’s house to cook a huge breakfast. Three dozen eggs later, the team chose to digest and enjoy the time between practices out in the sunshine; we calculated that there as an 85 degree temperature differential between Hanover and San Francisco, and we wanted to take full advantage. The team definitely enjoyed the sunshine (as did Cat’s dog Mojo)!
In the afternoon, the team headed to a different pool, closer to PJ’s house for a more swimming-focused practice. Although we were all tired after, we all still had enough energy to pose for a photo to send to our coach Fanis, if only to prove that we were indeed doing the practices he had prescribed and not just lounging about.
Although it may seem impossible, the team was once again hungry and very excited to go to PJ’s house for a wonderful home cooked meal. While the lasagna was in the oven, the team got to hold the Bigley’s chickens (one named Mother Clucker pictured) and watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. After no one could eat another bite of mud pie, we drove back to Cat’s house, all ready to sleep despite the early hour.
With only two practices under our belts, the team still has a lot to look forward to for the rest of the week.
The team was a little sore when we woke up this morning, but happy (enough) to hop back into the pool for a morning practice full of passing drills. The team then traveled to the Rennels’ house for a wonderful brunch followed by a matinée viewing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (continuing the theme from yesterday).
The team then packed into several cars and made the drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Meghan Christie’s (’17, #8) alma mater, Sir Francis Drake High School. It was a treat to exchange a practice for a scrimmage against the Pirates, especially because we had so many fans to cheer on the Big Green!
Hungry after another day of hard work, the team had a fantastic dinner at the Kamai’s house. It is obvious that the training is wearing on the team, as everyone was eager to get back to our beds and turn in early – after all, we have another big day tomorrow!
Everyone was a little apprehensive about our 3 hour practice scheduled for this morning when we woke up. Knowing that our hard work would be rewarded with an afternoon at Stinson Beach, everyone gave a fantastic effort through the whole practice.
Because of the long practice, everyone was especially excited for brunch. The team piled in cars and went to the famed Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store & Grill for fantastic food and even better milk shakes. A special thanks to Charlotte Kamai’s (’16, #16) uncle for hosting the entire team!
Nursing our full stomachs, the team headed down the winding roads towards Stinson Beach. For both teammates who have lived in California their entire lives and those who were visiting for the first time, the views on the scenic drives were breathtaking.
After an afternoon of soaking in some sun rays, a few brave souls ventured into the icy Pacific and everyone enjoyed a leisurely stroll down the beach, appreciating the amazing sun set.
Then the team crossed back over the mountains to have yet another delicious meal at Meghan Christie’s (’17, #8) home. Full of lasagna, the team made it back to Stinson with minimal motion sickness. After some more team bonding, the team crashed at Cat Donahoe’s (’15, #11) beach house, listening to the waves crash on the beach.
Even though we didn’t have to jump in the water this morning, Cat Donahoe (’15, #11), Margaret Rollins (’15, #2), Katie Lachance (’15, #3), and Meghan Christie (’17, #8) decided to take an early morning plunge into the Pacific. They were quickly followed by more teammates, proving that the entire team may be a little crazy. After warming up, most of the team had a fantastic breakfast at the Parkside Café, just a few minutes up the road.
Then the team piled back in the cars, speeding back the the Sacred Heart Preparatory for practice. After another hard practice (although the mid-day sun on our backs and a visit from three-week-old goats definitely lightened the mood), the team headed back to Cat’s to rest and watch some more Harry Potter.
Although it seemed like at this point in the trip we had met everyone on the teams entire extended family, we had yet to see Shelley Wenzel’s (’14, #1) parents. We had a fantastic pizza dinner while lamenting the end of our last full day of training trip. As an extra surprise, our coach from last season, Christian Sherrill, stopped by to wish us luck on the rest of our season! Still, we have some excitement (and practices, of course) to look forward to tomorrow before we head back to the east coast!
Even though we were booked on a flight home that night, we still had a jam-packed last day of training trip. The day started off with a deceptively difficult penultimate practice at Sacred Heart Prep; the novelty of passing tennis balls instead of polo balls definitely distracted us from how hard we were working our legs!
After practice, the team waddled to Stacks, a fantastic breakfast restaurant in Palo Alto with predictably delicious pancakes, eggs, waffles, and more. We were lucky that the restaurant could accomodate such a large group, as we were accompanied by members of Kellie MacPhee’s (’14, #5), Shelley Wenzel’s (’14, #1), Lisa Rennel’s (’14, #9), Kristen Flint’s (’14, #12), and Caitlin Flint’s (’16, #6) families.
Feeling full and sore, the team departed for Cat’s house to rest before our last practice of the training trip. While our last practice left us nursing our sore muscles (and scratches from falling into a hedge in the case of Grace Russo (’14, #1A)), we were all pleased with the hard work and fun that we had crammed into our whirlwind training trip, which definitely would not have been possible without the generosity of the wonderful parents who supported us in California.
Although the team was not ready for Hanover’s snow and the stress of beginning a new term, the team is definitely prepared and excited for the New England Championship Tournament, April 12-13!