Winter training camp, the two to three week post Christmas cycle. It’s six or seven days a week, two or three times a day. A day off or a practice off here and there. Only one practice one day, but it’s 4.5 hours. It’s leaving for the pool at 7am and not coming home until 4pm. It’s team dinners not hindered by homework. It’s team naps (“that’s the cutest thing we’ve ever done”). It’s eating everything in sight, drinking tea, heating sore muscles, and accomplishing zero tasks around the house. It is important, oh so important and valuable. Our coach always says you don’t have to feel well to dive well, you have to face adversity in order to push through it, to learn. It is long and sometimes cold and sometimes incredible. It’s film, dryland, strength training. It is shammy burn on your face and dry skin everywhere else. It can be the best practices of the year. It can be a bitch. It pays off.