From The Pool Deck provides a look at the 2014 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships straight from the student-athletes who will be participating. Each day of the meet will be covered by an Arkansas swimmer in Minneapolis, Minn., for the championship meet.
Days one through three have been covered by sophomore Maddie Monroe.
Monroe is attending her first NCAA Championship meet. Monroe was a member of Arkansas' 400 freestyle relay team that swam an automatic-qualification time of 3:16.16 at the 2014 SEC Championships. The swim was a program record and marked the second NCAA ‘A’ relay cut in Arkansas history.
Stay tuned to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more updates from the trip and for more information on Arkansas swimming and diving, follow @RazorbackSwim on Twitter.
Hello Razorback Nation,
As I sit here in our hotel ready to go to sleep before the big day tomorrow, I want to update you on our last few days here in Minneapolis.
We arrived late Monday night due to a delayed flight and went straight to the hotel. Exhausted from traveling, most of us went to bed as soon as we arrived to prepare for the busy next day.
On Tuesday morning, we woke up and ate a huge breakfast at the hotel. We then went straight to the pool. The pool is very nice and the facilities are top notch. After our morning swim, we all went back to the hotel before lunch.
One really cool thing about Minneapolis is the skywalks. There are over eleven miles of them with each one connecting the next building; so most people don’t have to walk outside in the frigid winter temperatures.
After lunch some of us headed to the Mall of America. Nikki and Susanna went to get their nails done, while Nicole, Anna, Nina and I headed out for a little shopping. With over 400 stores, an aquarium, and an amusement park all in the mall, we had a hard time conquering its entirety in the short time we were there. However, Nicole and Anna did happen to pick up some much-needed accessories for the upcoming Hogspy Awards.
After leaving the mall, we headed back to the pool for another swim. For dinner we went to a family style restaurant named Buca Di Beppo. This being my first time attending the NCAA Championship meet, I soon found out that eating here is an annual trip. We ate at a table with a spinning wheel so we could all share each dish. In the center of the wheel there was an incased statue of the Pope. Last year the team sat at this same table in Indianapolis, so they were all pleasantly surprised when the waiter sat us there again.
After dinner ended, we all went out to the get into the vans to depart for the hotel when it began to snow. As always, I wanted to stir up a little trouble and started a snowball fight with Anna. It ended shortly after, however, when Anna decided it would be a good idea to stick a large snowball down my pants. Let me tell you I was cold the entire ride back to the hotel.
We arrived back at the hotel just in time to watch our Hogs beat Indiana State in the NIT, but soon after it was time to turn in and head for bed.
This morning schedule was very similar to yesterday's as we woke up, ate breakfast, and then headed over to the pool. After swimming, we went to get lunch at Panera. While in line, an older lady was struggling to get her money out of her purse and fell. But don’t worry our fearless trainer, Alissa, saved the day and helped her back on her feet just in time for us to order our food.
We had plenty of free time today between our swims and we all chose to spend it in different ways. I chose to take a nap while Nina did homework, and Susanna continued her Star Wars marathon.
When our free time was up, we left again to go to the pool to swim out the final kinks before the big day. With our final dinner before we begin to swim, our graduate assistant Stephanie picked an awesome place named Zelo. It was delicious and Sean was very happy to see they had his favorite dish grilled salmon, which he ordered for the third night in a row. After dinner we all headed back to our rooms to shave down and get mentally ready for tomorrow's races.
Reflecting back on the beginning of the season, I can’t believe I’m about to start my first NCAA Championships. It took a lot of hard work and sweat to get here, but I am so glad to be here in Minnesota with these six other women. I cannot wait to see how the week unfolds.
Good night Razorback fans and GO HOGS! #NeverYield #WPS