Eliana Cohen ’17: Winter Break Training in Puerto Rico


The entire Swarthmore Swim team at Loquillo Beach

The entire Swarthmore Swim Team at Loquillo Beach

As a freshman, I wasn’t sure what to expect during my first winter break of college- having over a month off from school seemed like such as long time! After spending time with family and friends and even getting a chance to dive Cozumel, I was ready to see everyone from school again. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long-I spent the last 10 days of break in Puerto Rico on the swim team training trip!

Every winter break Swat Swim flocks to a warm tropical island to train. In the months leading up to the trip, the team raised money by giving swim lessons to kids in the local community and by writing to alumni, family and friends to sponsor us in our annual Swim-a-thon.
Finally the day came: we all met up at Newark airport to catch our flight. The freshmen chatted excitedly, eager to escape the sub-freezing temperatures of the Polar Vortex. The upperclassmen on the other hand, were far more reserved, and with knowing smiles reminded us that we were going to Puerto Rico to do the most intense training of our season. We boarded our 7 am flight and our journey began.

The first day we didn’t have practice and instead we went grocery shopping for our suites, but the next morning, the real work began! For the rest of the trip, we woke up at 5 am for our first practice of the day. After swimming, we had dry-land workouts. Then we would come back to the hotel to eat and nap. In the afternoon we went back to the pool for our second practice of the day. Finally, exhausted, we would pile onto the bus and go back to the hotel to eat and sleep. The days quickly became a blur of eating, sleeping, and swimming. Still, I gained so much from the experience!
Even though the workouts were daunting at best, and jumping into the outdoor pool before dawn only added to the challenge, there was something so incredible about swimming as the sun rose over us. Similarly, in the evenings, we ate dinner together with our suites as the sun set. Everyone helped in either the preparation or cleanup of dinner, and we always had lively dinner table discussions.

Not only did our eight-person suite bond during the trip, but also so did the team as a whole. On our two afternoons off, many of us explored beautiful beaches, visited Old San Juan, or just hung out by the hotel pool. These moments all provided us with opportunities to connect with each other and to learn more about our teammates. For me, the training trip epitomized what it means to be part of a team. We all worked hard together, lived together, and even shared a few moments of relaxation together!

I am so impressed with and amazed by my wonderfully supportive teammates! As our season draws to a close in just a few weeks, I can’t wait to watch everyone’s hard work payoff!

Eliana (far left) at Loquillo Beach

Eliana (far left) at Loquillo Beach