Centre’s training in Rome provided a huge impact

DANVILLE, Ky. – Studying abroad is something the majority of Centre College students do at least once during their time on campus. However, the swim and dive teams had never taken a training trip aboard until the Colonels went to Italy in August for an 11-day trip that had stops in Rome, Vatican City, Naples, Pompeii, and the towns along the Amalfi Coast.While the food and sightseeing opportunities were impressive, sophomores Kendall Somers of Dallas and Natalie Cox of Madison,  Miss., felt the opportunity to train in Italian short course and long course facilities will help make the Colonels a better team, especially with the extra team bonding time the trip provided.
“It was really cool. We had been to Florida for training camp in December but I don’t have the words to describe how special this trip was,” said Somers, who competes in the 100-meter breaststroke, 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle. “I don’t think any other swim team in the country has taken a trip abroad like this and it was cool to be part of something that had never happened before.”Cox said there was no mention of a trip to Italy when she was recruited and admitted everyone was “ecstatic” when coach Dean Brownley first shared the news about the trip almost a year ago.“It was the biggest surprise and such an amazing trip. We had about 50 or so swimmers go,” she said. “We stayed pretty busy and had a tight schedule but the coaches actually pushed us pretty hard. We only had one day we did not swim and most days we had a two-hour practice and our yardage was as high as it would have been on campus.”Somers said the workouts reinforced how important it is to be in top shape when the season starts and how individual summer workouts are not the same as team practice.“We would train in the morning and then have the rest of the day for free time,” Somers said. “We would eat breakfast, get on the bus and go to the facility to swim. The rest of the day we did a lot of walking and we probably averaged about 10 miles of walking per day. We all got a lot stronger from the walking and swimming we did and it was very important to make sure we got the proper sleep.”Cox said the facilities were “nice” and the first facility looked like it was open to the public but no locals were there when the Colonels were training.“On the coast we used an Olympic-size pool,” Cox, who swims the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke as well as the 200 individual medley, said. “Most days it was just us training but our guys did race some Italians a few times.”Somers felt the trip solidified the “family aspect” of Centre swimming and Brownley used the workouts more to gauge where each swimmer was rather than to “whip us into shape” for competition.“Dean just wanted us to get our yardage in. We had some tough sets as a team that reinforced the value of perseverance that we had not had to have since conference in February,” she said. “It was really interesting to have this training in the summer that helped reinforce team values we had maybe lost sight of since the season ended. It was rewarding to get the training done and be ready for our season to start at the end of September.”Cox will remember the team bonding on how team members really “took care of each other” whether it was navigating the Metro (transit system in Rome) or communication barriers.“Dean gave us a great inspirational speech about how the trip could help our season. He told us to enjoy the sights but team bonding and working hard were really important and that will help us this season,” she said.Somers felt Brownley was a “little more laid back” than what he was last season.“Dean was excited to be there and was very friendly. One day we might have been out kind of late the night before and he just told us it was fine to have fun but not to lose sight that the trip was about helping make our team stronger,” Somers said. “We saw more of a fun side of Dean we don’t get in the season but there were also times he had to get us all back focused on swimming since we were in Italy.”

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Photo Source: Natalie Cox

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