By Jose Trujillo (@jAy_Ay_T ):
Imagine a team with no home venue.
Travel is required for every game, meet or competition and the advantage of being the home team is never there.
For the San Jose State women’s swimming and diving team, this is the reality they’ve had to face the last couple of seasons.
The construction of the new aquatics center, which is scheduled to be finished December 2018, has turned the SJSU swimming and diving team into a permanent visitors, at least for the time being.
“We knew this was coming, it wasn’t a surprise” said SJSU women’s swimming and diving head coach Sage Hopkins. “We really looked at our competitions be Saturday as much as possible to not miss class and there are a couple of occasions where we do need to miss class.”
In swimming, meets last all day and are usually at least two days long, with some lasting four days depending on how far a swimmer has advanced.
“I don’t think other teams have to deal with that as much, they may be gone more days out of the year, but it’s just single days because they have one game and come back,” said junior Brenna Bushey. “Where as a swim meet takes all day, and sometimes several days depending on the length of the competition.”
This type of schedule requires swimmers to stay even more on top of their school work. There will be times in the season where they will not be in class because of a meet, or won’t have the comfort of studying in their own room.
“We have travel letters” said junior Taylor Lehr. “We give them to our professor to give them plenty of warning. Previously I was going to miss a midterm, so I scheduled that way ahead of time.”
Time management is really important in swimming. Because the team is on the road for every meet, SJSU swimmers do not have the luxury getting home shortly after they’ve competed. Instead, they head to a hotel, bus or plane.
“I usually do all my homework beforehand,” Bushey said. “I think it’s all about time management, and you get kinda good at that in swimming because your up all the time … it kind of gets engraved in you to be good at time management.”
And are they up early.
On Monday Wednesday and Friday, the team gets to the facility at 6:10 a.m. and swims from 6:30 am to 8:15 a.m. followed by an evening practice. On Tuesday and Thursday it’s weightlifting, and they cap off the week with a Saturday morning practice.
This season, the team has already traveled to Ohio, and have meets scheduled in Texas, Washington, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Depending where SJSU swimmers place, Maryland, Arizona and a third trip to Ohio can also be a possibility as they are the sites of the NCAA diving and swimming championships.
Traveling this much also means rest will have to come in hotel rooms, buses and airplanes.
“There are a lot of sleepers on the plane,” Bushey said. “I watch movies usually because i’m not a very good sleeper, but there is definitely a lot of people with there mouths wide open, head back, drool coming down their face.” .
And taking the proper items to make the travel comfortably is a must. Every swimmer has their own travel necessities.
“I know a lot of people bring a pillow because our hotel pillows are kind of weird,” Lehr said. “I try to bring everything to keep myself in the same routine as I do at home because then it’s less of a shock, especially with time change, that is probably the biggest difficulty.”
For Bushey, traveling without her headphones and heating pad is a no go.
“I have to have headphones, and I have to bring my heating pad,” Bushey said. “I have a heating pad so i can sleep on it at night to loosen up my back and help my recovery process, I definitely can’t go anywhere without that.”
Well, the Spartans have better make sure to always be ready and packed, because on the road is where they will be this season.