The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Swimming and diving team trains, explores culture in Dublin


By John Hagerty, deputy sports editor

What would normally be an uneventful winter training trip in Florida became an international adventure in which Northeastern’s swimming and diving team wandered the streets of Dublin and gazed in wonder at pristine countrysides as they traveled to Ireland to train over winter break.

“It was a lot better to swim and be somewhere different,” second-year Megan Clark said. “No one wanted to go take a nap after practice, we all wanted to explore the city and see what Ireland had to offer.”

The team switched the venue for their annual week-long training trip, during which they practiced four hours a day: two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. The athletes then had ample time to play tourist in their host city.

“We were able to get our training in and at the same time have a cultural experience,” head coach Roy Coates said. “My impression was that [Dublin] is very much like Boston, you can literally walk the whole city. From where we were staying, you could walk to Trinity College, you could walk to the Guinness storehouse, you could walk down to Grafton street.”

Fourth-year captain Sara Touchette-McGowan said the team roamed in packs through Dublin’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

“A part of the city that we really liked to go was Temple Bar, where all the restaurants, all the bars, all the good atmosphere is,” Touchette-McGowan said. “There was a lot of lights, music, it was a good vibe there.”

Touchette-McGowan found the atmosphere in Dublin comparable to that of the United States. Despite the similarity, she pointed out that the team experienced a culture that was uniquely Irish.

“The architecture is different, the food is different, there was lots of sausage, gravy, mashed potatoes and beer,” she said.

One aspect of Ireland that caused confusion for the team were the traffic patterns.

“They drive on the other side of the road, which is simple but when we were crossing streets, we would look at the wrong side of the street and almost get hit by cars,” Clark said.

The team also went on a day trip to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. The student-athletes appreciated the beautiful landscapes they watched pass by during their two-hour bus ride.

“When we drove to Belfast we drove through a lot of country,” Clark said. “It was nice to see all of the countryside, the farms and the sheep. It was very green.”

The team was led on a tour of the city and visited the Titanic museum and historic Peace Wall.

When they weren’t taking in Irish culture, the team trained at the state-of-the-art National Aquatic Centre in Dublin alongside the Irish national team.

“The facility was amazing,” Touchette-McGowan said. “Definitely one of the best facilities I’ve ever swam in. The divers were also really lucky because they had a diving tower.”

The Huskies now have a little more than a month remaining in the season before the CAA Conference championships in early February.

“The focus is to get as much hard training as we can in before we start to taper,” Clark said. “This upcoming meet we will be doing as many events as we can and compete as best we can to see what we can do while we’re exhausted.”

The Huskies will return to the pool Saturday at the University of Vermont.

“Our goal in the month of January is to train really hard, and then we are going to fine tune and rest before championships and hopefully do really well there,” Coates said.

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