Athlete Vacations Shorter Than Most

Games, pratices cut into holiday break for some winter athletes

While most students trickle off campus, heading home for nearly two weeks of winter holidays, some winter-sport athletes have their vacations interrupted by obligations to Harvard.

During recess, the Crimson men’s hockey as well as men’s and women’s basketball teams will face off in intercollegiate competition.

But even those who aren’t obliged to compete may be called back for practice—the wrestling and men’s and women’s swimming teams will continue to train during the break.

The teams can ill afford to take two weeks off in the middle of their seasons.

“You have to do it if you want to be competitive, at least for wrestling,” said wrestler Jonathan A. Mankovich ’05.


The full wrestling team returns Dec. 31 and immediately resumes training, likely with twice-a-day practices.

“We hit it hard right away,” Mankovich said.

As snow falls on Cambridge, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will travel to warmer climates.

The women’s swimming team will continue training over winter break in St. Croix from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 and the men’s team will travel to Dorado, Puerto Rico from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.

Team members fund their own trips through earnings from teaching private lessons and parental donations, not through money from Harvard Athletics or alumni.

“It’s very good for bonding purposes and community, and it’s fantastic for training,” said Women’s Swimming Head Coach Stephanie Wriede-Morawski. “For everyone to go home for two weeks and lose all the unity, camaraderie and training we’ve built up is not a very good thing for our season.”

Their trips are walks on the beach—between two workout sessions per day.

“If you’re going to make them train that hard, it’s nice to...let them go lie on the beach for a couple hours,” Wriede-Morawski said.

The St. Croix facility does not offer diving boards, so Harvard’s women divers will accompany their male counterparts to Pasadena, Calif.

“Nobody wants to be stuck up here in the snow any more than they have to,” men’s swimming co-captain Andrew B. Krna ’05 said. “It’s difficult, but I’d much rather spend the time with my team somewhere warm.”