Swimming and Diving Trip to the Olympic Training Center


The Olympic Training Center, swimming and diving division

Many consider spring break to be a time for rest and relaxation, but for a group of Pine Crest swimmers, their spring break was a time for hard work at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs, CO. The team’s training trip consisted of grueling workouts, team bonding exercises, and leadership classes to enhance the swimmers’ performance.

“Training at OTC was very different from swimming outdoors in Florida”, recalls Lauren Balfour ‘23. In South Florida, we have the opportunity to swim outdoors and at sea level, but at OTC, the 5200 feet of altitude provide a constraint on the amount of oxygen they are able to breathe in, making swimming harder. “Adjusting to the altitude was a challenge to begin with,” said swimmer Rafael Opperman ‘23,“but once my teammates and I adjusted, Coach Chris pushed us through the tough practices.”

Opperman sat down with the Pawprint to share his most challenging practice at OTC. He told us that his hardice practice “…involved many sets of 10 sprints down to one end of the pool and back (50 meters). This set was not only physically demanding as it forced me to sprint over a long period of time, but it was mentally challenging to get through it.”

The swimmers, however, didn’t only practice in the pool. They had the opportunity to lift at the OTC weight room, where they practiced several grueling exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and dumbbell bench presses.

Swimmers also participated in classroom activities offered by USA Swimming, the organization responsible for the OTC training camp. These classes consisted of topics such as leadership, anti-doping, and sexual, physical, and mental abuse in sports.
Swimming is not just about time spent in the pool, but also about the bonds that are made with teammates.

Over the course of the week, the team formed closer bonds through adventures such as hiking in Colorado’s Garden of Gods and exploring downtown Manitou Springs, one of Colorado’s most popular tourist destinations. The swimmers had “family meals” at the OTC dining hall where they gathered around a table to express their favorite moments of the day and their thoughts on the hard practices. While the majority of their free time was spent resting in the dorms, the swimmers had fun by playing Family Feud or pool, or hosting movie nights in their dorms.

“I could not have imagined training at OTC with any other people but my teammates”, Annalise Driscoll ‘25 shared. “We laughed together, cried together, and created memories for a lifetime together.”
For this group of swimmers, the hard and altitude training were only small prices to pay for the unmatched experience they had and the memories they made.