While most Swarthmore students were enjoying their last few weeks of summer, the Swarthmore Women’s Volleyball Team headed to China in search of some challenging competition to prepare them for the fall season. Along the way, they tried new foods, found a local karaoke spot, and climbed the Great Wall of China. With fourteen days and four cities to navigate through, Swat Volleyball was kept busy with practices, games, and sightseeing.
Getting to China was the hardest part for the team. The team missed a connecting flight and were forced to spend the night in Texas, Swat Volleyball finally arrived in China on Aug. 6th in high spirits. Upon arrival, they took to the court, playing against challenging club teams from Beijing, Nanjing, and Suzhou. Olivia Leventhal ’18 shared her thoughts on the differences between the styles of play in the States and in China.
“The Chinese teams were not as different as I had expected. They utilized a lot of the same strategies that teams in our conference do. They did, however, have a designated “shrieker” who screamed every time we served the ball to try to mess us up, which isn’t really that common in the Centennial Conference.”
Although most of the trip was spent playing volleyball, there was plenty of time for the team to explore China. Sarah Girard ’19 gave her take on the team’s experience off the court.
“We took sightseeing to a new level. We visited the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and the Forbidden City, as well as some other places like a Buddhist temple and the Nanjing Massacre Museum that allowed us to really see a different side of China besides what the tourist locations were showing us,” said Girard.
The team spent two weeks travelling through Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Beijing, which proved to be an exhausting endeavor. Elise Cummings ‘19, who swears she is still jet lagged three weeks later, felt that the two weeks in China prepared her and the team for the upcoming season.
“Competing against challenging Chinese teams prepared us physically for our season, but more importantly, our shared experiences in China and the great appreciation for volleyball we developed overseas will prove to be a valuable experience that will help us succeed together this season,” said Cummings.
With this trip to China under their belt along with two consecutive ECAC Championships, the Garnet are poised for another strong season. With 15 players returning and two incoming freshmen, Swat Volleyball intend to build off of their past success for an even more successful upcoming season.
The team’s next game is this Thursday at Stockton University, where the Garnet hope to get a win before conference play begins. Conference play begins this Saturday, September 16th at 1pm against Dickinson.