Aloha from the Lions!



The LMU swimming program will spend nine days in Hawai'i as part of a winter training trip. The trip provides an all-around positive experience for the swimmers, teaming training and business with fun and shared experiences. Swimmers will be writing blogs throughout the trip, and those blogs will be posted here at

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Aloha from Elizabeth Murray and Hailey Chisholm

Last night we excitedly landed in Kona! We piled all our luggage filled with swimming equipment into any car we could find, and made our way to the Hawaiian Preparatory Academy. The Blue team is staying in the smaller house with the shorter walk to the pool, while the red team claimed their prize by picking the larger house with the farther walk! We love our house!

After a good night's sleep, we woke up and reported to the weight room! We had a great workout sent to us from Drew with Elaine's personal additions! Then we got to swim Clay's very own workout in the pool. Needless to say, it was mind boggling. We got the afternoon off to go down to the beach! The ocean was warm, the sand was soft, and the day was beautiful! We did an ocean swim with Clay and Elaine to top off the day's workouts!

We were then treated by Noelani Vargas' parents to our very own Hawaiian Luau! We were welcomed into the Vargas' home with fresh leis and an authentic meal. We are ready to turn in our first day on the Big Island, and we couldn't be happier! We've gotta get a good night's rest for tomorrow's 100x100's in honor of the New Year! Tune in tomorrow for the red team's day 2 blog!

Aloha from Katie Rick

Alohaaa! Day two of our Hawaiian winter training began with a short hike, led by island local Noelani Vargas, that served as a scenic, yet a bit of a treturous, shortcut from our house to the pool at Hawaiian Preparatory Academy. We were all pumped with nervous adrenaline knowing that our workout would consist of the special New Years Eve set of 100 100's. It was a rewarding accomplishment as we swam just over six miles, cheering on each other and being motivated by our coaches, as well as being fed bananas by our assistant coach, Elaine.

After our two and a half hour workout, we headed back to our house to enjoy a large brunch before heading to the beach. We went to Wailea beach, which is a favorite local spot, where we were spoiled by the secluded vast white sand and crystal clear waters. Several of the girls boogie boarded and snorkeled, while the rest of us either waded in the waves or took advantage of basking in the strong Hawaiian sun. It is no doubt that we will all come back with a great tan!

After a great day at the beach, we headed to the mini Hawaiian palace of a house that our coaches are staying at for a special dinner. We had a delicious tropical assortment of food that included fresh Ahi, Mahi Mahi,and Ono Fish from a local fish market.

With the conclusion of dinner, we got to set off fireworks and enjoy lighting sparklers, it was a great team activity to bring in 2013 with the entire team and coaching staff! After celebrating the New Year with New York and the Midwest, we headed back to our houses to get a good night rest in preparation for the 6:30 AM weights and swim workout we have in the morning. Happy New Year from LMU Swim!!!

Aloha from Sofia Abrate

Aloha from the Blue House!

Today was quite the adventure, as is every day we have had so far in this paradise. This morning alarms rang at 6:00am, which didn't feel so great as we stretched out our sore bodies and arose with squinty eyes. Not many words were exchanged as we ate breakfast quickly and walked to the pool through the chill air in the darkness. The Blue House was first to arrive to the weight room, 6:30 came and no one showed up. We began to fear that the practice time had changed and we weren't notified. Moments after, Elaine and the Red House showed up and we were relieved. Elaine directed our weight session at 6:30am and worked us pretty hard as usual. The hard work didn't stop there. We got in the pool at 7:30am for our two-hour stroke emphasized practice.

After practice we walked back to our houses and ate what seemed like lunch at 10:00am. After "lunch" and some down time with the girls, Clay picked us up in the van at 11:15am to go to the beach for a bit at the Mauna Kea Resort. After forty-five minutes of soaking up the sun at the Mauna Kea, Bonnie and Elaine came to pick us up in the newly rented mini-vans! We now have more transportation yay!! We proceeded to drive for a while and attempted driving down a dangerous and rocky road to go to a beach near Kona. This was quite the adventure, but because of the dangerous road conditions, we decided to retreat to the main road and go shopping and sight seeing in Kona!

We arrived in Kona to a beautiful ocean view and many shops, which made us girls happy. For four hours we roamed the ABC stores, sipped and munched on shaved ice, bought teeny bikinis, tried new fruits (Lilikoi or passion fruit) and bought beautiful flowers at the market, ate some chocolate covered coffee beans and tried the infamous Kona coffee.

At 5:30pm we all met at the Kona Brewery for a much-needed dinner after walking all around Kona for hours. We ate Greek salads and Hawaiian pizzas and filled our tummies with Hawaiian goodness. After a fun filled dinner with conversations about celebrities we were all ready to go back home. The hour drive back wasn't as bad as it seemed! At least in Bonnie's van we chatted and bonded the whole way home. Once at the house, we wearily climbed out of the vans and are now ready to call it a night after a rough three-hour practice and a fun day in Kona.

Mahalo for reading! Tune in for more tomorrow from the Red Team!

Aloha from Stephanie Schuffels and Hallie Hengels

Aloha from the Crimson House!

It is day 4 on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii and the first day of doubles has begun. Our morning practice was split into two groups: an IM based group and a sprint group. When we got back to the house we enjoyed hearty meals and contemplated what we would prepare for our dinner competition. Tonight would be the night that the Crimson team hosted the Blue team and coaches for a dinner gathering with the hopes of impressing the judges (the coaches) and ultimately defeating the blue team in yet another competition.

During the day, we set out to the local Farmer's Market to purchase all ingredients needed. While some were on grocery duty, others were on tanning duty. Katie, Stephanie, and Hallie pulled out unused mattresses and laid them on the driveway. While sprawled out on the mattresses they then broke out the "Maui Babe" Browning Lotion in the hopes of turning a few shades darker and eliminating the dreaded one-piece tan. Though it was windy and partly cloudy, the girls chose to sacrifice their comfort for prime tanning time.

Before long, it was time for practice #2. Both teams made their way over to the pool and were split into distance and specialty stroke groups. Although the workout was difficult, a comforting thought came to mind: AT LEAST WE ARE TAN. After the workout, it was time for the Crimson team to hustle in the kitchen and prepare the menu of the evening, which consisted of blackened Mahi Mahi and chicken, pineapple salsa, coconut rice, salad, and sweet bread. For dessert, a decadent macadamia nut brownie topped with ice cream and carmelized bananas and strawberries. To complete the presentation, the decoration committee covered the house with fresh flowers and Hawaiian lei's and place cards. Live entertainment was provided mid-course by Rachel, Stephanie S., and Kat, who performed an interpretive native Hawaiian dance. With full stomachs and jolly grins, the night was concluded a success.

The Crimson team worked very well together when preparing the meal; teamwork was effortless and enjoyable. It is our last night in the glorious Crimson house before we are forced to move into the Alumni Hall house tomorrow morning. Though we will miss our house and its grandeur, we have all agreed that it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. At the end of the night, we decided to move our mattresses into one room and have a giant slumby! Hopefully no one snores ;)

After a troubled sleep due to incredibly high wind speeds, the blue team awoke to "Sweet Caroline" and more extreme wind speeds. The short walk to the pool seemed like a cross-country trek due to the high velocity gusts. Elaine awakened us with a main set of 3600 yards, at the end of which Bonnie congratulated the entire team on working together to have a GREAT workout! Both teams returned home, the red team to pack and move next door to the Blue team and the Blue team to make wonderful sandwiches, cookies, and cereals galore.

The next event of our day consisted of beach going, bikini shopping, and book reading. The beach goers documented their swimming, tanning, and napping. Stephanie Hess, our resident networker, made fantastic use of her iPhone and social media, as she always does, posting images on the LMU Swimming Facebook Page.

We all returned to the houses to have a relaxing hour before our grueling afternoon practice. Elaine learned the hard way that the LMU swim team does not do well out of the water. The pre-swim workout included lots of running, hills, and abs in addition to extreme Hawaiian heat! The swimming included a main set of 2700 yards of kicking and under waters.

Immediately after exiting the pool, the Blue team rushed to the Jacaranda to prepare for dinner. As the red team walked in to the cottage they were greeted by the decorating committee, who had the night before given every team member a Spirit-Name. The tables were set with these names which made finding your new name an adventure. The Blues prepared seared ahi and hawaiian egg rolls as appetizers and for the main course delivered a chicken vegetable teriyaki stir fry over steamed rice with an accompanying spinach salad. Dessert consisted of a seven-layer bar paired with sugar coated, coconut dressed strawberries, all topped off with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Dinner was, to say the least, amazing.

After all the swimming, cooking, serving, eating, and cleaning the blue and red teams were ready to head home at around 8:30. The Blues in the orphanage had a long discussion about the great times of today and the anticipation of our morning ocean swim tomorrow as the wind howled outside the windows.

Spirit Names:
Elaine - Amelia
Ian - Stephen
Bonnie - Patty
Clay - Richard
Alina - Samantha
Isabel - Veronica
Angelina - Cleopatra
Noe - Charlie
Rachel - Ginny
Steph Horowitz - Ellie
Hallie - Lola
Katie Rick - Jacklyn
Steph Shuffels - Alice
Diana - Christina
Marlena - Taylor
Lauren -Martha
K Clarno - Cory
Kat - Jade
MK Short - Lily
Maddie - Molly/Courtney
KJ - Kelsey
Steph Hess - Lucie "the mayonnaise"
Liz - Sam
MK Reid - Carmen "the paparazzi"
K Brennand - Amber
Sofia - Alexandria
Sophie - India (Indie)
Hailey - Danielle
Camille - Brynn

Aloha from Diana Safa, Kristen Clarno, Stephanie Horwitz and Stephanie Schuffels

Aloha from the Crimson Cottage!

We started the day off right with an extra half hour of sleep. We then hopped in the vans and headed over to South Kona to swim all the way to the Captain Cook Memorial. Upon arrival, we quickly changed into our suits and trekked through the loose, rough rocks. Once everyone made it into the water, we were off. At first, there was nothing to look at but the bottomless ocean. In the middle of the swim, we came across swarms of minuscule jellies. Unfortunately, some were victims to the sneaky creatures as they slipped into our suits and fins, and continuously started stinging. However, these events were completely eclipsed by the arrival of a pod of spinner dolphins, coming to swim with the large group of swimmers. They emerged from all sides, swimming only inches from some, guiding us all the way to the memorial. Good thing fellow Crimsoners Noe and Marlena caught the miraculous footage with their Go Pro cameras!

Upon arrival to the destination, there were plenty of areas to experience the amazing snorkeling that the memorial has to offer. We saw hundreds of colorful fish, and some even got to hold a sea urchin! After swimming around with the fishies for about 20 minutes, everyone was anxious to head back, in high hopes that the dolphins lead us back to shore once again. The dolphins did not disappoint, as the same pod showed up once again to say their last goodbyes before heading back into the deep blue.

Once the swim was over, we all climbed up and across the treacherous rocks once again, went to rinse off, and packed into the vans to head off to lunch. Some grabbed burgers and some got pasta. It was delicious! After everyone had happy, full tummies, we headed back to our respective houses to get ready for the second practice of the day (this time in the pool).

The wind was howling and blowing close to 100 mph. However with Elaine leading the practice, we weren't expecting anything too easy, and we were right! The main focus of the workout was stroke, and a lot of racing. We had about two hours to rest after practice before heading to Aka Sushi Bar, where we ate a wide variety of sushi and other delicious Japanese foods. We headed back to the houses, and everyone was wiped out from the day's events. We hit the hay shortly after arrival back at the houses.

Aloha from the freshies of the Blue House, Kristen Brennand and Sofia Abrate

Today we had an adventurous experience consisting of drastic weather changes that blew our minds out of this world! The wind speed has never been so high, hitting our record of 40 mph! To start off the day we walked to practice through the treacherous winds, mentally preparing ourselves for Joanne's 5K Holiday Set. The workout was lengthy and tough but as a team we motivated each other to conquer it with integrity and spirit.

Elated that we had finished the set, we made our way back to our humble abode joyously awaiting the venture to Hilo, the rainiest city in the U.S. On our way to Hilo, Bonnie treated us to a delicious breakfast of Malasadas filled with chocolate and guava jelly. Bellies now full we hopped in the vans to travel an hour or so to the Akaka Falls. To Bonnie's delight, her van arrived first to the park. Once everyone else had arrived we began our marvelously non-strenuous "hike" to the waterfall. Surprisingly in this rainy city we had yet to see any rain.

When we arrived at the waterfall after taking many pictures, it began to pour and we ventured back up to the vans to go to Downtown Hilo for some lunch and a few sweet treats. In Hilo, we walked through the colorful farmers market taking in all of the wondrous smells, ate lunch in a little café, and munched on some candy from the overwhelmingly delicious candy shop.

After walking around the town after lunch we retreated back to the vans to travel another 40 minutes to the Volcano National Park. Once at the park after some slight detours, we all hopped out of the vans to beautiful weather. Little did we know that about 30 seconds later we would encounter heavy, tropical rains that drenched us to the bone. Although we were soaked we all enjoyed a walk through the chilly lava tubes--a once in a lifetime experience.

Trekking back up to the vans the rain seemed heavier than ever. We climbed back into the vans with dripping hair and sopping wet clothing. Our next stop was the Volcano House located approximately 50 yards from the crater of one of the Big Island's volcanoes. After overlooking this steaming crater we walked over to the visitors center and learned about all the Island's volcanoes from a lovely young man with a British accent. Intrigued by the young man's admirable accent we all left the short lecture more interested in volcanoes than we had ever been. Once again in the vans, we headed over to Lucy's Taqueria in Hilo for a filling Mexican dinner. Some girls ordered burritos, unaware that they were the size of a newborn child.

With full tummies, we were more than ready to head home. After a long day of fun-filled and educational activities we arrived back to our houses in windy Waimea ready to bundle up for a good night's sleep. We just hope the winds won't keep us up!




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