Swim team travels to Puerto Rico

By Gus Bode

While most students dealt with freezing temperatures during winter break, members of the SIU swimming and diving team spent time in an outdoor pool.

The Salukis spent a week of their winter break in San Juan, Puerto Rico, training and preparing for their upcoming spring season that begins Saturday at Missouri State.

Coach Rick Walker said the trip was a good experience for the Salukis, who were able to take advantage of the warm weather and work in the Olympic training center as well as an outdoor swimming pool.


“All we could do is eat, sleep and swim,” Walker said. “It brought the team together.”

SIU did not compete in the 2008 Copa Coqui Invitational like originally planned, but continued to train in the world-class facility. Teams in the competition included Syracuse University, Bucknell University and the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez.

For junior backstroke competitor Dani Quarry, who posted 14 top-5 finishes in the 2006-2007 season, the trip to Puerto Rico was her first time away from the mainland.

Quarry said the trip allowed the team to be more focused. In their time away from the pool, SIU swimmers enjoyed a trip to the beach and shopping while visiting Old San Juan, which hosts most of Puerto Rico’s central government.

“I was pretty tired and the next day we had a hard practice, but we had a lot of fun,” Quarry said.

Senior freestyle and butterfly competitor Stephan Ackermann, who was a member of the South African National Team before coming to SIU, said he enjoyed his experience in Puerto Rico.

“We’ve been to Orlando the previous years and this was the first year for me to go to Puerto Rico,” Ackermann said. “I wish they would do this every year.”


Luis C. Medina can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 238 or at [email protected].