It was 54 degrees on the pool deck at 5:30am (reminder: I am on VACATION) and the moon was bright as the steam rose above the 50 meter pool. The locals were cold, but did I complain? No way. It was zero at home and I was about to get into an outside long course pool. Immediately I sensed this was different as everyone was as friendly as could be, especially given the early hour. I swam with Ian and Michelle, who could not have been more welcoming. There were a few notable differences:
- The swimmers were there and ready to go at 5:30! I have to attribute this to time saved in not having to heat up car or scrape off snow/ice.
- The coach Chris did not bring coffee, he made it on deck. Yep, they have a Keurig machine on deck. That is first class master's swimming, people.
- I kept waiting for the sun to rise. At one point I asked when it would come up and was told that when it starts to get light, practice is over. That was about right.
- The Penn State swim team was on deck after master's practice. Nothing makes you feel your age and bring you back to reality like a bunch of 19-21 year olds.
While I might attribute my warm welcome to the fact that Laurie introduced me, I have enough sense to know that this is just a great group. The only small issue was that the coach had on a Michigan hat. Nothing is perfect! So, if you are in Naples, check out T2 Aquatics!