After three days in Denver, the tour party packed their bags bound for Santa Barbara to prepare for their second pre-season friendly against Ventura Fusion, who ply their trade in the USL Premier Development League, the fourth tier in the America footballing pyramid.
The players completed their final training session before departure, although it was only a light affair after their efforts against Colorado Rapids.
Most of the players were feeling the effects of the game with the mile-high altitude proving draining for all concerned, despite playing only 45 minutes each.
“It was hard work,’’ confirmed Swans midfielder Leon Britton. “Your throat is dry and it’s hard to catch your breath after a run.’’
Only the legendary Alan Tate
seemed to be coping with the altitude – well in his own unique way.
Asked by a member of the medical team whether he was finding the altitude a problem, he replied in all seriousness: “No, only when I breathe!”
While the 2-1 defeat against the Rapids was disappointing, the management team described the exercise as positive in preparation for the big Premier League kick-off at QPR on August 18.
And at least they won’t have to deal with any cannons going off at Loftus Road. For tucked away in a corner of the Rapids stadium, uniquely named Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, was a cannon which went off with a horrendous bang and puff of smoke every time a goal went in.
Housed in the ‘Gunners Cannon Corner’, highlighting the link with stadium owner and Arsenal shareholder Stan Kroenke, there would be little chance of it passing health and safety regulations in the UK.
The squad managed to find some time to relax in-between training and the opening friendly in Denver.
While Ashley Williams and his reggae gang listened to Bob Marley tunes around the pool, another group took advantage of the local golf course where Mark Gower took the honours over the nine holes.
Most of the staff took a trip to the nearby Rocky Mountains where kitman Michael Eames lived up to his reputation for classic quotes.
Looking to stock up on his sweet supply, Michael was faced with a price tag of $9 per lb (pound), to which he asked what is a ‘le-be’ (referring to lb) thinking it was a foreign language term.
It wasn’t the first as he told the squad it would be really warm in training with temperatures set to reach 100 degrees Celsius, which works out about 212 Fahrenheit, and would give even Garry Monk a tan.
And to round things off at lunch where there were a number of main meals on offer, Michael looked confused as he made his choice.
Asked what was wrong, he replied: “This salmon steak, is it fish or meat?”
And there’s sure to be more classics to come from Michael before the tour diary is out.
Young Ben Davies was unofficially named the man-of-the-match against the Rapids after a fine second-half display whipping crosses in from the left.
But the full-back was quickly brought down to earth as he was given the pizza delivery boy duties after the game as the squad returned to the coach for the trip back to the hotel.
The following day was check out time as the hotel went into meltdown clearing the boys out of their room ready for internationally renowned singer Neil Diamond who was performing at a nearby venue.
As Diamond led his entourage into the hotel, he spotted a familiar face and said: “Alright Curt”. Well that’s what the boys reckoned much to Alan Curtis’s amusement.
The final task before departure to Santa Barbara saw the official induction of the new players to the club.
As is tradition at Swansea, all new players and staff members must sing a song after dinner in front of the rest of the squad.
New signings Jonathan de Guzman, Chico and Michu duly obliged, along with fitness coach Oscar Garcia, two of the media boys and young guns Ben Davies and Gwion Edwards.
But more of that later . . . so stay tuned to the official website.