Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Santa Barbara

View on the way back from the pool 
Unlike Canada I am always ready to go to California, sun, water and mountains, what else could I ask for? The OTC resident team was taken to Santa Barbara for a two weeks training camp. During training camps as well as  competitions we only get to know the trajectory between the pool and the hotel. It is very rare that we get to experience the cities we visit.  The Santa Barbara trip was a little different,  we were very lucky, the hotel and the pool were within walking distance, both facing the Pacific Ocean, cold, none the less beautiful. If you remember where I was born you can understand why I enjoyed this trip so much. I had the privilege of seeing the beach every day and every time I would come out of the pool or the hotel.  After practice, I would happily volunteer to not ride in the car and just enjoy the beautiful picturesque return from the pool to the hotel.  Every small hotel, people or cars parked along the street side were a constant reminder of the typical Californian life. The street contrasted perfectly with the hippies playing music, the surfers or even the creative homeless people begging for money by using famous phrases or games to interact with the people passing by.

One of the most interesting characters along that path was a guy that decided to cover his entire van with pins, stickers, flowers, signs or any object that was related to the hippie movement.  His decoration wrapped around the entire vehicle including the inside where he also manages to have a living space, with his a bed and a closet. What a great use of the space!!!

Van parked along the street

 Besides the swimming portion of this trip I had the great opportunity of seeing part of my family that came to visit me from Los Angeles and with them I visited a very picturesque Danish town called Solvang. I also visited two of the historic Missions of California, The Santa Barbara Mission and Santa Ines, Mission.
Santa Ines Mission 

You must be wondering with so much fun around me, if I truly swam during this time. Yes, I did!! I was very happy to go swimming every day. The workouts were very hard but a good challenge. One morning I almost left my breakfast in the pool due to the intensity of the workout. I had to swim 200m three times where I would have one arm doing free style and the other arm doing backstroke to make my body follow a spiral kind or rotation. All I can say is that the three palm trees on one side of the pool ended up doing the full rotation with me in my mind that did not know what right, left, up or down was.  

The Santa Barbara Swim Club was very welcoming and the pool was even a historic site of the city. The name was los Banos del Mar due to the historical baths located on this site. This trip was fun and defiantly had a lot of hard training. It recharged me to start this important year of swimming!! 

1 comment: