Winter Blog: Megan Galbreath Reflects on Experiences During Winter Training Trip in Hawaii

Winter Blog: Megan Galbreath Reflects on Experiences During Winter Training Trip in Hawaii

The Harvard women's swimming and diving team is spending its winter break away from Cambridge, and outside the continental United States. Divers left yesterday, Dec. 27, to train for nine days in the warm and sunny weather of Hawaii, while the swimmers will train for seven days in Fuerteventura, Spain on Saturday, Dec. 30. Sophomore diver Megan Galbreath has agreed to blog during the Crimson's training trip. Read about her experience in Hawaii. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 

Our day started at 5:15 a.m., when the sounds of our alarms pierced the morning silence. Shaking off sleep, we got ready for our final excursion of the trip: a visit to Pearl Harbor. We arrived at the memorial before the sun had even risen, making the girls' room eight-for-eight on seeing Oahu's stunning sunrises.

Visiting the Pearl Harbor memorial was so humbling; it makes me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to go on training trips like this one, traveling halfway across the world to a warm and tropical location in the dead of winter, something that is only possible because of the valor of our active troops and veterans. After our sobering and eye-opening outing, we went back to the hotel to rest up for our final practice in Hawaii. Everybody braved the cold and windy day, concluding our time in Oahu with a strong finish.

After heading to the beach for sunset pictures, we split up to buy our favorite treats in Hawaii: guava bread, açaí bowls, and green tea ice cream macarons. To top it all off, our senior girls made delicious stuffed peppers for our final dinner. As I sit here surrounded by friends, repeatedly writing the word "final", I can't help but feel sad that our little escape from reality is coming to an end. Tomorrow we leave for Arizona, where we will spend our final two days before traveling back to the harsh winter of Boston. Here's to hoping that we can bring some of the Hawaiian sunshine back with us!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 

In what feels like the blink of an eye, we've already been gone for a week! To mark day 7, we took a leisurely hike to Manoa Falls, had two productive practices, and finished with a relaxing team dinner at Yard House. The diving team has been so lucky this year because we've managed to strike the perfect balance between training hard, exploring the breathtaking island of Oahu, and resting and refueling (all of which I managed, somehow, to accomplish today).

After a solid morning workout, the divers took off for Manoa Falls. We've always been fans of waterfalls and after last year's underwhelming find, we had high hopes for this year's waterfall. I was not disappointed. As we hiked further into the rainforest, the sounds of the city melted away, replaced by the songs of birds and the bubbling of water in the creek that ran parallel to the trail. At the end was a gorgeous waterfall that stretched several stories tall, complete with a wading pool at the base. 

When we had finally Snapchatted and snapped pictures to our hearts' desires, we trekked back down the trail and hopped in the van so that we could get to our second practice. In a perfect end to the night, all of the divers and our coaches got together for one final team meal – with only one full day left in Hawaii, our time together is quickly coming to an end. Tomorrow will be an early start so that we can visit Pearl Harbor in the morning, before heading to the pool for our final two practices of the trip. What would our team be if we didn't find time to fit a historical monument or museum into our trip?

Monday, January 1, 2018

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 

After a pep talk from coach Tracey Bird this morning, the divers had two great practices, complete with new dives from nearly everybody. Some girls took dives up to 3-meter that they've done a handful of times in the last year, while others faced dives that they haven't attempted since high school. The morning workout started off a little lighter with our easier voluntary dives on 1-meter and 3-meter, as a way to get back into diving after our well-deserved day off. The afternoon workout was by far our toughest of the trip: we pushed ourselves to our physical and mental limits, cheering each other on and applauding our successes in the process. 

I feel like I say this every day, but my teammates truly do inspire me and push me to be both a better person and a better diver. Tracey started off our new year by having the entire diving team sit in a circle, while we went around and said positive things about each other. It sounds so cliché, but in reality, it highlighted the kindness, drive, positivity, and support that is present in every single one of my teammates. Something that really marked me was when our assistant coach, Sean, remarked that our program is unique because everybody truly cares about everyone else, and wants them to do their best not only on the boards, but also in life. There is no "me" mentality because we have realized that we perform our best when we get out of our own heads and focus on our friendships and common goals. Happy is the word that comes to mind whenever I think about our team. We thrive off of each other because we accept one another for who we are – I look forward to training every single day with this group because I know that no matter what I am going through, they will undoubtedly put a smile on my face. I'd certainly say that the first day of 2018 was a success!

Sunday, December 31. 2017

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 

With just a few hours left in 2017, I find myself reflecting on how much my teammates have changed and grown over the past year. We've become better athletes, stronger divers, and kinder people. We've laughed, we've cried, and we've certainly cried from laughing so hard. We've had a new coach step in and accept us, even with all of our weird quirks and antics. We said goodbye to old teammates and welcomed new ones into our family. We learned to live life to the fullest because you never know what can happen.

At the start of 2017, I never would have guessed that I'd start the last day of the year by trekking to the top of Koko Head to watch the sun rise over Honolulu, and end it by snorkeling in the vibrant and lively Hanauma Bay.

Something that really struck me today was when my teammate, and one of my best friends, Katherine Miclau, remarked that she hadn't seen our team laugh this much in a long time. To me, that spoke greatly about just how lucky I am to be on this team because I can't remember the last time that I didn't walk away from a practice, meal, study session, class, or bonding event feeling happier than I was before I saw my teammates. I'm excited to see what the next year brings because this team seems stronger, healthier, more confident, and quirkier than ever before. 

Bring it on 2018 because Harvard diving can't wait to crush it!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 

And just like that, day four is over.We took advantage of our morning off and had a little R&R (you can catch a photo of Katie Russ doing Normatec in our photo library), which meant that we got to sleep in for our first time since leaving Boston.

One of the best parts of the day was traveling to Sandy Beach to spend the day with the Harvard men's swimming team. Sandy Beach certainly lived up to its name – as one of our senior swimmers succinctly put it, "It's so sandy!" I decided to lay on the beach reading "My Paris Dream," basking in the sunshine and warmth that I knew I wouldn't be getting once I returned to Cambridge. I loved looking up from my book to see my teammates throwing the football on the beach and tossing themselves into the waves. It's so nice to see my teammates enjoying themselves without the pressures of schoolwork and applications bearing down on them.

Our one focus is diving, which we happened to rock in the afternoon. I guess that the R&R worked! Senior Alisha Mah took up 205b on 3-meter, a dive that she last did three years ago, while our platform superstar, Jing Leung, continued to awe us from the 10-meter.

As we sat on the beach watching the sun set this evening, I looked around at my teammates and remembered how lucky I am to be on such an inspiring and hardworking team. I can't wait to see what crazy things I get to do with them tomorrow!

Photos from diving's training trip in Hawaii

Friday, December 29, 2017

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 

Day three of our training trip is in the books! After a long and tiring day in the sun, the Harvard diving team is ready to settle in for the night. Unlike yesterday, our morning alarms weren't set so that we could see another beautiful sunrise. Instead, we geared up for our first practice of the day – a practice we absolutely crushed (and that may or may not have mutually kicked our butt). I should have known that today was going to be a good day when double rainbows appeared not once, not twice, but three times during our first workout. As I watched my teammates hold their own alongside some of the best diving teams in the country, I was struck by how far we have come in the past year. To be able to see the both the athletic and personal growth in my teammates is incredibly inspiring. They create such a lighthearted, fun, and an encouraging environment. I can say with confidence that one of the best things about going to Harvard is that I get to practice the sport that I love with the people that I love every single day.

Determined to make the most of our short time here in the Aloha State, the underclassmen all opted to hike Diamond Head, a volcanic tuff cone whose status as the highest elevation on Oahu gives it the best views of the island. The hike to the top was certainly a nice alternative to our cardio finishers in the weight room back on Harvard's campus, not to mention that we were rewarded with a view of the sunshine glinting off the crystal-clear ocean that stretched endlessly before us. I also have to give a special shout-out to our freshman, Georgina Milne, who rocked the afternoon practice and had her best 3-meter workout of the season after what was perhaps our most tiring day of the year. Props to Harvard Women's Diving, for starting off the training trip strong!

Photos from diving's training trip in Hawaii

Thursday, December 28, 2017

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 

What better way to start off the day than by watching the sun rise over the volcanic peak of Diamond Head? For once, the sounds of our morning alarms didn't mean that we were getting up for an early-morning lift or practice; rather, we took advantage of the opportunity to grab a coffee and watch the morning sky awaken with all the colors of the rainbow as the sun peeked over the volcano, signaling the beginning of our first day of training. After having some breakfast, we headed to the pool, where we reconnected with old friends and also made new ones at our first practice of the day. As I stood on the 3-meter board with the ocean in the distance to our left, the volcanic terrain to our right, and a shining sun overhead, I realized how lucky I was to be training with my amazing teammates in an equally-as-wonderful slice of paradise.

The sky opened up for a quick afternoon shower, just as we were finishing our grocery shopping trip to stock up on food supplies for the week. By the time we had finished lunch and relaxed in our room, the rainy spell was over and the sun was back out – just in time for our second practice of the day. With a solid cardio workout behind us, camaraderie and competitiveness ensued as we urged one another to try new dives and cheered each other on for facing the 10-meter platform. To wrap up our first full day on the beautiful island of Oahu, we came together for our first team dinner: a taco bar, prepared by our own Katie Russ. As the day wound down, we each slowly but surely succumbed to the drowsiness induced by a double practice in the scorching sun and a satiating meal punctuated by friendship and fun. Let the adventures continue tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

 Megan Galbreath, So., Diving - Cape Coral, Fla. 


After a long day of traveling, the Harvard women's diving team finally arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii! It's been an extremely long, but incredibly exciting start to the trip. After leaving campus at 4 a.m. to catch our 6 a.m. flight from Boston, those of us from the east coast, and the UK, met up with our west coast natives at the Phoenix airport. Each reunion made me realize how lucky I am to be on such a loving, supportive, quirky, and fun team. With the laughing and hugging that went on at the airport, any onlooker would have thought that we hadn't seen each other for two years, rather than just two weeks.

When we finally arrived on the beautiful island of Oahu, we were greeted with sunlight and warmth. Our jackets came off and we switched out our sweatpants for shorts to compensate for the drastic weather change – we'll take 80-degree weather in paradise over the frigid winds of a Boston winter any day. After arriving at the hotel, we split off into groups to grab dinner and explore the place that we'll call home for the next week. With the beach less than a three minute walk from our condo door, I have a pretty good idea of where you can find the Harvard women's diving team when we're not training!