Lane Lines Blog: Kirsten Byers Checks In With A Team Update

Jan. 7, 2010

Happy New Year!

The past month has been quite a busy one for Swim&Dive and it feels like the season is definitely in full swing. Winter quarter classes just began yesterday, putting an end to our 'Christmas Training'. This was bittersweet for me, for while Christmas Training is always filled with workouts that are incredibly tough both mentally and physically, it is also a really fun time to spend together as a team. Since the dorms close over winter break, the freshmen and sophomores stayed with the upperclassmen in apartments. It was cozy and a little crowded, but a lot of fun. The days were filled with multiple swim workouts, running, weights, yoga, underwater filming, meetings with inspirational mentors, and recovery. One of the biggest challenges is always juggling eating and sleeping in between workouts!

Among all the hard work, we still managed to fit in so many fun moments. On the first weekend of break, many of our parents traveled to school to spoil us with an amazing homemade breakfast, complete with Christmas presents and blue and gold poinsettias to decorate the tables. The annual Holiday Party was fantastic; I could not stop laughing the entire night during our hilarious gift exchange! This year the party was hosted by Tom and Erika, who provided the highlight of the night by announcing that they are expecting a baby due in the spring. I am so happy for both of them!

At the conclusion of the first week of training, we all were able to travel home for Christmas. I know this was especially exciting for my international teammates, Isi and Karoline, who traveled home to Germany and Norway respectively. My flight home was quite amusing. When I first arrived at UCLA, I was the only one from Washington on the team. This year, I shared the flight home with Bri, Isabel, Rachel, and Scarlet. Since we all went straight from practice to the airport we wore various UCLA Swimming attire. My dad told me later when he met me at baggage claim in Seattle that we looked like a mini team coming off the plane. It definitely made it more fun traveling with a bunch of my friends!

Home was fabulous. I loved spending time with my family and friends and waking up every morning to see frost on the ground and snow up in the mountains. It was a bit of a shock though to go running on Christmas Day and have my chin go numb from the cold, and I do NOT miss having to deice the car every morning. I guess in a lot of ways I really have become a Southern California girl.

Now back at school again, we are continuing to work steadily towards Pac-10s and NCAAs. With it finally January, everything seems so much closer...I get goose bumps from excitement just thinking about it! We finally have our first home meet at our new pool this Friday against Kansas and Fresno St. It will be our first time facing both teams so I'm looking forward to it and will let you know how it goes!


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