Behind the Blocks: NCAAs or bust tracks the training and development of former All Met swimmers working towards the goal of making the NCAA Division I championship meet in March during the 2013-2014 season. Each week the swimmers will post a personal blog about training with their respective school’s swim program and the daily challenges of life as a student-athlete at the D1 level. Check back every Tuesday for new blog posts, and join us throughout the season for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the country’s elite collegiate swimmers and swim programs.
Eva Greene is a junior at the University of California-Berkeley. She started her swimming career with the Tuckahoe Tigers in the NVSL and continued with McLean High School where she was MVP from 2008-2011. She was named PVS Swimmer of the Year in 2009 as a member of Machine Aquatics. Read all of Eva’s blog posts here.
Yet again, my posts have been keeping me honest. This past week has been a true testament to the ‘dance’ and how we must keep on confidently moving through these next few weeks.
Last week, we matched up against Stanford in our most exciting and anticipated dual meet. Tradition holds the Stanford Cardinal as the Golden Bears’ biggest rival, so this is always a fun competition to end our season with. Some of our close and longtime friends swim at Stanford, like my fellow blogger Sarah Haase, which tends to turn this traditional grudge-match into a respected battle between teams.
We swam a good meet but fell a little short, and Stanford ended up on top winning the meet as well as bragging rights for defeating their biggest rival — us. The meet may not have gone our way, but it provided a lot of feedback going into the final days leading up to Pac-12s (that are this week!).
But let me take a quick step back. Last weekend wasn’t only about the Cal vs. Stanford tradition, but about a special Cal Women’s swim and dive tradition that is near and dear to our hearts.
Every year around Christmastime, we each draw names for a Secret Santa gift exchange. Well, it’s more of a Secret Valentine exchange, because on the night before the Stanford meet we all put on real clothes that aren’t yoga pants, head out to dinner, and present one another with precious handmade gifts.
My favorite parts of the evening, however, are not the things we give each other, but the memories. After exchanging presents, we each share our favorite memory from the year so far. For the days leading up to the dinner I was reminiscing. I thought long and hard about my absolute favorite day, adventure, burst of laughter, conversation, beach day, workout, hug, movie night, impromptu dance party, funny joke or emotional moment to recite to my team. This is an impossible task, and I have way too many to sum up in just one sentence. So, I’m going to share some of my favorite memories that I didn’t get to say in my one sentence to the team.
This is the real deal, folks. This is Cal swimming.
- Our small travel trip down to Fresno State for a meet, but more importantly for Mexican food and cupcakes with Teri.
- When my roommate Taylor Nanfria found out she was accepted into her major and screamed at the top of her lungs after practice in Hawaii, and Teri buying us ice cream to celebrate.
- Every morning after reeling up the lane lines, right before putting the cover on, one person yelling “coat!” with a resounding choir-like response of “jacket!”
- Hot tub warm down at Cal Poly
- Not being able to breathe at UNLV invite — just kidding. Too soon to laugh about it?
- Hiking, beaching, laughing, eating shaved ice, and having the time of our lives in Hawaii.
- Our junior class Thanksgiving dinner — a tradition in the making. Potluck style, yummy food, great conversation, reminiscing about the good ol’ days, slight panic that we’re almost seniors. Always a good time.
- My group text thread with Kristen Vredeveld and Rachel Bootsma that is entirely about cats.
- Those simple moments where a big Bear hug says it all.
- Having 1,500 fans support us at our home meet against Arizona. Never have I ever felt so proud or grateful to be a Golden Bear.
It’s moments like these that keep things in perspective. It’s the journey that makes a season special, not necessarily the outcome.
This is extremely important for me to remember because last week I had a bit of bad luck and broke my hand during a workout. (Someone forgot to tell me swimming isn’t supposed to be a contact sport…) After surgery and a few days of pain, I’m finally feeling able to pick up and continue moving forward. At first I was feeling devastated, like all my hard work had gone to waste, but those feelings fade as I remember just how much I’ve enjoyed this road so far. I worked hard to get to where I am…to “learn the dance,” so I deserve and owe it to myself to keep on dancing. I may be out of the water and unable to compete, but there are countless ways I can keep supporting my teammates to help us be successful.
With full hearts and the reminder of why we love being here, we prepare for our Pac-12 Conference Championship that begins this week in Federal Way, Wash. I can’t wait to see how all our hard work will pay off. I believe in my team and my teammates make me proud to be a Golden Bear every single day. Wish us luck! Go Bears!