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Athlete Approved Trip to Fiji

Athlete Approved Athlete Consultants Lara Jackson and Bobby Savulich have punched their tickets to teach swimming in Nadi, Fiji. We will be traveling across the globe to the west side of the island November 29th to December 10th 2012. Jackson and Savulich look to make a difference by sharing their knowledge of the sport to the Fijian athletes and coaches. Athlete Approved aims to use current and former athletes to inspire these young children. We hope to not only teach swimming technique, but also life lessons and skills swimming can bring to them.

This will not be our first visit to Fiji. In the spring of 2010, the current University of Michigan Assistant Coach Mark Hill, his wife Jessica Hill, and Savulich spent 10 days teaching in Fiji. The swimmers learned about all four strokes and were urged to push themselves beyond their limits. The Hill’s and Savulich automatically felt as though they were a part of the Fiji family. It was apparent that for most Fijians, materialistic things do not matter; family and friendships come first.

The most memorable part of the trip came during Savulich’s “Island Training”. The Fijian gym he was training in seemed like it was straight out of a Rocky movie with no windows or air-conditioning. One could tell some serious blood, sweat, and tears have been shed in that gym. In order to hone in on our “warrior instincts”, the Fijian head coach urged us to watch the process of a pig being slaughtered, prepared, and brought to the dinner table for a feast. It was all done humanely and certainly helped us find the “warrior” inside of us.

Instead of turning vegan and never eating meat again, this experience thought us the opposite: be thankful for your food and understand where it comes from. That night at dinner, we made sure none of the meat went to waste!

When we were feeling fatigued from the all of the traveling across the world and the vigorous training, we were introduced toFiji Noni Juice. It works as a natural energy booster and is also great for one’s immune system. Fijians take it regularly. We learned quickly that it does not taste good, but it definitely works! We liked it so much we brought it back with us to the states.

This 2010 Fiji experience was a huge culture shock and thought us a lot about ourselves. You never know how something very little, like teaching someone how to swim, can profoundly affect a child. It made us appreciate athletics and the position we are in to teach others. They showed extreme amounts of gratitude and genuinely made us feel like we made a difference. On the other side of it, we learned how to be grateful for the little things in life and the things we sometime take for granted. By watching their culture, we learned from them that nothing is more important than family and friendships.

When we travel back in less than a month from now, we have no doubt the trip will be equally amazing as the 2010 trip. Through the water, we have made bonds that will last a lifetime! Thank you Fiji!

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