This Wednesday, January 8th marked Harvard women's water polo's first full day in Sydney, Australia! I'm Lana, a senior on the team, and I'll be taking over the blog post for the first couple days of our trip, with the help of my fellow seniors Sofia Carrera-Justiz and Angie Varona and junior Grace Thawley.
We're staying right down the street from Coogee Beach, and it's been incredible being able to walk to the ocean. The street we're staying on looks like a quintessential surf town, including all kinds of smoothie shops, locales that sell boogie boards and poke restaurants.
This was taken about a quarter mile from our hotel!
The first few days of the trip consisted almost entirely of the beach and water polo. We scrimmaged Drummoyne Water Polo Club three times in three days, which was a challenging experience: many of the girls had played at the national level. We also had the opportunity to join Drummoyne for dryland exercises, channeling our inner Rocky through some friendly boxing. We also joined the Drummoyne girls and Coach Maureen O'Toole, a former Olympian and old friend of head coach Ted Minnis, for a friendly postgame barbecue. Outside of formal training, we've gotten some yards in swimming in Sydney's oceans seaside baths, a pleasant change of scenery from the windowless Blodgett.
The Baths at Coogee Beach
The Sydney Olympic Pool, where we scrimmaged Drummoyne
Today, we got a firsthand experience of Sydney's highly efficient public transportation, taking the bus down to Circular Quay. Walking along the water, we saw the famous Sydney Opera House, which despite Lana's passionate attempts at tour guiding was not actually designed by Frank Gehry. We also strolled through Sydney's botanical garden before catching a ride on the public ferry to Manly Beach, enjoying stunning skyline views along the way. At Manly, we embarked on a half-mile team ocean swim with coaches, spotting tons of little fishies along the way. A few of us like to believe we actually discovered the best açai bowls in Sydney, and given the competition here that's not a title that should be taken lightly.
Sydney Opera House and skyline, as viewed from the ferry to Manly Beach
For a few hours today, we made Manly Beach a whole lot more womanly
Tonight, we're returning to practice in a pool located right in a harbor, separated from the sharks only by a single net. Subbing in such a unique pool requires jumping off an eight-foot dock, but don't worry, we stopped screaming after the third time. We haven't stopped screaming from the sting of the seawater in our eyes, though.
Behind that dock is our 'pool'
Our time in Sydney has so far brought a lot of good food, a lot of competitive water polo, a lot of alarming sunburns that Quinne insists will turn into a tan, a lot of gut-wrenching laughs and a lot of opportunities to up our Instagram game. We're feeling very lucky to experience such an incredible city and high level of water polo play and cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip brings. We cannot give enough thanks to all the people who have made this trip possible, such as the Friends of Harvard Water Polo, all the wonderful Sydney teams who have allowed us to share their pool space, Maureen for helping put all this together, our amazing parents who let us travel halfway around the world and our coaches for letting us miss a couple of days of swim-sets to explore a new place. To follow along the rest of our journey, tune into the Harvard Water Polo Instagram (@harvardwopo) or Twitter (@HarvardH2OPolo).