Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers travel to Hawaii for training

Yeah, it's freaking cold outside.

Wouldn't it be nice to go somewhere really, really warm for a couple of weeks?

How does Hawaii sound?


Well, the UW men's and women's swimming squad, for the past 35 years, has made an annual commute to the Aloha State for a couple of weeks over winter break.

But don't think for a minute that it is all fun and games. Sure, they get to compete in a meet against the University of Hawaii in the middle of the trip. Yeah, they get some time to splash around in the Pacific, kicking back under the toasty Hawaiian sun.

However, for the majority of the trip, the Badger swimmers endure the most intense training sessions they will experience all year.

Senior captain Emily Carpenter knows that the players accept the challenges, understanding that the yearly trip is balanced more toward business than pleasure.

"It's an amazing opportunity to get to go to a place like Hawaii every year, as compared to other teams, who get to go somewhere cool only once," Carpenter said. "It's a lot of work and it's extremely difficult, but it's nice to be out of Wisconsin and somewhere warm for a change."

Here's the team's schedule in a nutshell: everyone is in the pool by 5 a.m., with morning exercises lasting until 7.

After an extended break, the swimmers report back to practice at 1, with a half-hour of sit-ups, pull-ups and other conditioning exercises. Then everyone gets back in the pool until 3:30.

At this point, the team heads to dry-land exercises for an hour-long workout.

All told, the team conducts training for about five to seven hours per day for two-straight weeks, with only two true days off in between.

Head coach Eric Hansen was pleased with the way his swimmers progressed over the fortnight.

"The training has been really, really good," Hansen said. "We have had real consistent training, and that really helps when we're putting in those types of hours each day. The good weather has made things do-able outside, giving us a good situation so that we can train that way."

If the meet, which took place on Jan. 6 — the halfway point of the trip — is any indication of the swimmers' improvement, the 2006 season should be a successful one. The Badgers were able to put away Hawaii easily, with the women prevailing 150-89 and the men winning 106-53.

"We were pretty pleased with our performance from [the meet]," assistant coach Geoff Hanson said. "Hawaii was probably down a little bit, but we can't take anything away from our swimmers."

The Wisconsin women produced nine first-place finishes and the men contributed two first-place and five second-place finishes.

"I was surprised as to how the meet showed that our women are just that much deeper and more seasoned than our men," Hansen said. "The workload that we're at right now, everyone's pretty beat up and pretty tired. I think the women in particular responded pretty well."

Of course, following an intense week of training, the Badgers had to fight fatigue in order to succeed at the meet.

Senior captain Michael Hamm commented on the struggles of a competitive meet in the middle of the training period.

"It's one of the more interesting meets for us because it is in the middle of the most intense training of the year," Hamm said. "It's a good opportunity to see what we can do when we are so tired."

Even during those two precious days off, the Badgers have had to struggle between enjoying the Hawaiian atmosphere and spending more time in the hotel to utilize the recovery period.

"Some will get to the beach and mess around in the waves, but for the most part, they're doing everything they can to conserve energy," Hanson explained. "They know they have to sleep in, kick back. They know they'll be hurting in the coming weeks. They just have to get ready for their next training period."

Hanson said the fear of losing positions on the team keeps each individual swimmer motivated to fight through the training.

"By this point, everyone is so committed, and they know what's at stake," he said. "If they're not training hard during break, somebody else is and will take their spot."

Hansen, who has conducted the training for the Hawaii trip for the past seven years, ultimately sees the two-week challenge as an advantage for his Wisconsin teams.

"They've done something that not many other people are willing to do," he said. "A lot of other swimming teams put in training camps with huge volumes [of work], and we're just trying to increase our volume.

"We end up doing a lot of different things that attempt to set us apart."

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