I can’t believe this was my third trip to Italy! I remember going the first year like it was yesterday. That being said, Italy never ceases to amaze me with its beauty, including is amazing people, food, and coffee (seriously it makes me never want to have a Starbucks again… and I love Starbs)!
We started the trip in Genoa, a beautiful city located on the Mediterranean. Fun fact… Genoa is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus! The meet in Geona is called the 42nd Nico Sapio Trophy. I swam the 100 Breaststroke and the 200 IM and went personal bests in each of those events. The rest of the SwimMAC crew, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Jimmy Feigen, and Cullen Jones, also had great swims! The meet was definitely a success but the highlight was the café in the pool lobby and the endless supply of macchiato and espressos.
After the meet we got to spend a few days training in and exploring Genoa. Thanks to one of our very generous hosts, we got a tour of Genoa by boat! We rode around the port (the largest in Italy!) to take in some awesome views. While most of the group was thrilled to take it in from the boat, Jimmy felt the need to experience it in the freezing cold water. He’s a brave soul!
We traveled from Genoa to Bolzano. Bolzano is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities in the World. It sits at the base of the Dolomite Mountains and could not be more charming. The meet in Bolzano, The Swimmeeting, is an exciting meet with great history. The pool is definitely cozy (that’s a nice way of saying completely packed) and warm up is crazy (aka not possible). Despite the less than ideal conditions, fast swimmers from all around the World come every year and put up some impressive times! Because the venue is so intimate, you can literally feel the energy from the crowd and the other swimmers, making it easy to swim fast… I love it. I swam the 100m Breaststroke, 50m Breaststroke, and 100m IM and again went personal bests in all three events.
This year, we took a gondola ride up to the mountains. The sight of vineyards on the hillside with the snow-capped mountains in the background is one of the most stunning I have ever seen. The pictures are beautiful and I don’t even think the pictures do it justice! It was one of those breathtaking moments when all I could feel was gratitude for getting to experience God’s work and beauty firsthand.
The Italy trip was filled with beautiful sights, great people, fast swimming, and delicious coffee; however, the best part were the many, many hardy laughs we had as a group. I am so lucky I have the opportunity to do what I love with the most extraordinary people by my side! Until next time… ciao Italia, grazie!!