The salty scent of the beach air filled our nostrils as my teammates and I excitedly picked our way down to the sandy shore next to the water. It was our last chance to go to the beach and soak up some sun before the change of seasons. Every year, my swimming and diving team makes a weekend trip down to a teammate’s beach house on the coast of Long Beach Island, New Jersey, to train and bond together at the beginning of the season. This year we were lucky to have a cool breeze blowing and the sun shining steadily down on us.
Last weekend, my teammates and I headed down to Long Beach Island for our annual team bonding trip. We had left Wagner early in the morning after having a team breakfast of fresh New York bagels, which were kindly provided by our head coach, Coach Colin. The drive down was quite the adventure, with a mix of sunshine and sudden downpours the whole way. When we arrived at the beach house, we all changed into our suits and headed off to the beach to get some sun before our workout.
Three hours passed, and Coach Colin called for us to go and change up and get ready for our Saturday workout. We had a two hour long practice, one hour of running, leg exercises, and abs sets, and then the next hour was an open water lagoon swim.
Once we had burned off a good amount of calories, we were back at the beach house and ate a wonderful feast together that was kindly prepared by the Lees and the Ketchmarks (two of our teammates' parents). Our team finished 55 crabs, 180 clams, along with a large amount of mashed potatoes, baked ziti, and chicken cutlets. I can recall the savory scent of the creamy mashed potatoes, the melting cheese of the baked ziti, and the warm, fresh scent of baked bread.
After our bellies were full of delicious homemade food, we gathered around in a circle on the floor of the living room and began some team bonding activities. Colorful pieces of paper were passed around the circle, and each swimmer and diver wrote her name on one side and her academic, personal, and athletic goals for the year on the other side of the page. After the serious thinking part, we proceeded to play two truths and a lie. We all wrote down our two truths and lie on index cards, and placed them in a pile. One by one we went around the circle, reading the two truths and lie, trying to guess which one of us wrote that particular card.
“Number one: this person’s dream honeymoon destination is Disneyworld. Two: this person’s favorite Disney princess is Aurora. Three: this person loves shopping for athletic and high-heeled shoes,” rang my teammate’s voice in the warm lamp-lit room. We looked at each other, scrutinizing one another’s faces, trying to see who wrote the card. I saw my teammates thinking hard and we called out names of suspected teammates. Finally someone cried out, “Lynn! It is you, isn’t it?”
I smiled sheepishly and agreed. “Now guess which one is my lie,” I said. A moment of silence followed, and then a teammate cried out, “It is the second one! Your favorite princess is not Aurora… It is Belle!” I grinned and nodded in approval. The room filled with laughter and voices, and the night went on, the air filled with friendship and team spirit.
This is only the beginning of another great swimming and diving season here at Wagner College. I remember coming to meet the Wagner swimmers and divers for the first time exactly two years ago and being impressed with the friendly, loving atmosphere of the team. The trip to Long Beach Island is one of many examples of the fun moments the Wagner swimming and diving team has throughout the year. Every time I see my teammates early in the morning on the pool deck, encouraging me and my other teammates, I cannot help but smile and be proud of being part of a fabulous, caring team. This was one of the reasons why I came across the country to come to Wagner: to be part of a close-knit, strong, supporting family; something that I could not find elsewhere.