It's been a little over two weeks since Dominic and I got back from our Bahamas Training Trip and I'm missing the sunshine and our swimmers even more than ever. Last year, the first year we hosted this trip, we had one group of swimmers and were there for 7 nights. This year we had two groups and were there for 19 nights...quite the jump if you ask me. Going into it we were more than a bit nervous we would be completely drained after saying goodbye to our first group, but thankfully with a day to rest in between groups (and a little, okay a lot, of rum cake) we found ourselves amped up to welcome our new swimmers and get back into the water with them.
Last year's group and this year's first groups were made up entirely of women, so it was nice to have two guys join us for the second week. This entire group was made up of newcomers and it was great to get to show them around the cove and the island for the first time. The first morning swim in the cove was absolutely beautiful, everyone loved it and couldn't get over how clear the water was and how many sea creatures they could see while they were swimming. 10 minutes after we finished that workout? Torrential downpour. No stop in sight. Thankfully it was Sunday, which means traditional Bahamian breakfast was called for: chicken saus and johnny cakes.
It might sound terrible, being on a gorgeous island for your swim training trip only to wake up to pouring rain your first morning. But is there anything better than a warm, comforting meal right after a long workout? Especially when that meal is hot soup, buttery grits, and thick cut johnny cakes with melted butter? I don't think so, and I'm definitely not one to see the silver lining, especially when it's raining. The first group of swimmers wasn't here on a Sunday, so unfortunately they didn't get to partake in this weekly tradition Bahamians have (restaurants only prepare this meal on Sunday mornings), but that just left more food for the second group! Chicken saus is essentially a rustic chicken soup with potatoes and juice from sour oranges mixed in with the stock. It's warm and the sour orange gives it a perfect tang mixed with the starchiness of the potatoes. Johnny cakes are cornmeal cakes that have a slight amount of sweetness, and grits are grits. If you don't know what grits are then you most likely didn't grow up in the south, which means I'll just describe them as savory oatmeal made from coursely ground corn kernels. There, that's my culinary lesson for the day. Back to swimming.
One of our favorite aspects of this trip is the fact that we get to see our clients out of our Endless Pool applying what they work on in their lessons in a different environment. Some drills can feel differently in a 25M pool, and it's a great opportunity to help our swimmers work through the differences and get the proper feeling we're looking for. One of our pool workouts focused on only technique work, we weren't there to get the yardage in that afternoon (don't worry, we did anyway). We set the pool up as a circuit and got in some of our favorite drills: paddlehead, parachute on the head with a theraband around the ankles (lots of focus for this one), paddles in hands, and parachute around the waist.
This group of swimmers reallyyyy wanted to take advantage of getting to swim in some waves, so we actually took two trips to the ocean (not the cove) to work on entry and exit of the water. A lot of the work you need to do to prepare for this aspect of open water swimming is mental, and in my opinion you just need to bite the bullet and go. That being said, I hadn't swam in the ocean - in this respect - for years. Last year I watched and took pictures from the beach while everyone got their ocean workout in, so saying I was scared was a bit of an understatement. But I didn't panic, I made sure I had calmed myself down before walking towards the waves, and I just got in. As simple as that. Once I was out there I realized I just had to work with the ocean, not against it, and as long as I stayed calm I would be okay. And I'm SO glad I did because I saw countless schools of fish, sting rays, and the largest parrot fish I'd ever seen. It was great.
I could honestly write about this trip for hours and still not be done telling you about everything we did, but I think you get the gist of it all. Wake up, swim, breakfast, break, swim, dinner, sleep, get up and do it all again the next day. Not to mention many of these athletes went for runs in between the swims everyday, so they definitely put in a lot of work. Yardage count? 33,000 yards. Not too shabby you guys. And by that I mean you crushed it.
This trip is such an incredible experience and one I'm so glad I get to be a part of. Having our swimmers travel with us to this special place and get a chance to swim in the sun is one of my favorite parts of the year, I can't thank our clients enough for making this trip possible. Can we go back yet?