By Laura Rahauser
Published Jan 19, 2016 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Jan 18, 2016 at 10:49 AM ET

Laura Rahauser, a Drexel senior, reports on the team’s winter training trip to the Cayman Islands.

Drexel UniversityCayman Islands — Our team was casually having dinner at “Stingers,” a poolside restaurant that was conveniently footsteps away from our hotel. “Cheers to making it this far, Cheers to our senior season,” my teammate, Joey Gingold said to me as we clinked our plastic ribbed water cups and exchanged smiles with the rest of the group sitting at our table.

This will be my fourth and last year on the Drexel women’s squash team, and I am extremely grateful to be a captain of this group of people. When it was announced we would be traveling to the Cayman Islands to train for some of our 2015-2016 winter break, I knew that it would be a great opportunity for Drexel squash. Not only would be escaping to the beach and return with glowing tans but even more noticeably, we would have the chance to acknowledge the amount of hard work we put into our sport.

drexelcaymansquashclubWhile we were there we worked hard for ourselves, but it became more obvious that as we devoted to the same schedule, we recognized each other. I think this is one of the things that I felt was most satisfying. The men and women do not normally practice together, and the opportunity to watch the men’s half of the team was inspiring. I couldn’t help but respect their work ethic. I believe that when one person works hard, it becomes contagious.

Each day started with a team breakfast as everyone, still sore and half asleep, limped and crawled their way out of bed downstairs. After breakfast we had a fifteen minute drive down a beautiful coast to the courts. The drives were some of my favorite memories as we blasted classics with the windows down as the locals couldn’t help but smile and laugh as we passed by. We’d have a morning session at the South Sound Squash Club that lasted a couple hours. One hour of tough fitness and the other hour of squash. After our morning session we’d recover with some beach time. Throwing the rugby ball in the ocean and napping on the beach is what most afternoons consisted of. Around 4 we’d head back to the courts for an afternoon session. The coaches split us into two teams, Blue and Gold. Each team consisted of both men and women ,and every session the coaches would decide a winner based on performance, effort, and so on. A little friendly competition made every session pretty interesting. I remember face planting into the muddy bushes as I finished a relay race… I was so into the race I forgot I had to stop! The evenings consisted of team dinners at wonderful restaurants and some more beach/hot tub time. Not a worry in the world for us. Each day we grew closer as a team as we laughed, played, struggled, and enjoyed every minute of it together.

drexelcaymanwaterThe training sessions were tough and the time on the beach was cherished. Our meals were delicious and it was quite special to share a meal with my team every evening. To this day, I still miss it!

If I had the opportunity to go again, I would use more sunblock. Other than that, I would not change much about my experience. I enjoyed being in an environment without much to worry about with the exception of squash, sleep, sun and food. Our main focus seemed dedicated to each other and improving as a unit.

Every year I have loved my experience as a member of the Drexel squash team, but this group might be my favorite. I feel that this team has proved a great deal of perseverance despite our losses and disappointments. Not only am I proud to be on a team with athleticism and clear talent – but one with a lot of integrity, good character, charisma and diversity. I’d compare Drexel squash to a bee-hive. Each person works hard for the benefit of the hive as a whole.

So, as Joey clinked my plastic water cup against the rest, I nodded my head toward the table in agreement. I am very proud to have made it this far, and many cheers to not only my senior season, but to the bright future of Drexel squash.