This terrific series of blogs written by Helen Williams from Thame paints a wonderful picture of events from the swim camp.

Here is a report from BaT Camp which saw 15 swimmers across Thame Swimming Club and Didcot Barramundi Club venture to Torremolinos for a week of intensive swim training.  The week was a huge success with the children all benefiting from the training, with some fun along the way too.  Thanks to Ian Blyth for being Head Coach to the full BaT Camp team for the week and to Sherri for being support coach and helping the swimmers as the Welfare Officer.  Paul and I enjoyed being chaperones with our job being made so much easier due to the exemplary behaviour and attitude of each and every swimmer.  We were all incredibly proud of the whole squad.  None of this would have been possible without the fantastic organisation from Wendy Randall who truly made this week possible, thank you Wendy.


Day 1

An early start saw the BaT Camp Squad meeting at Gatwick at 06.30am full of excitement and anticipation.  The flight was uneventual despite Hallam, Paul, Ian and Ella being stopped or their bags searched at security – always a slightly nervous moment!  Norwegian Airlines were very good with only a few bumps on the way!   The hotel (Griego Mar) was comfortable and the rooms have all worked out well and luckily everyone found the rugby on the TV to cheer on New Zealand (except for Sherri and myself who decided to watch ET in Spanish)!

We took a wander up to the indoor and outdoor pools which were both fabulous and the children were then looking forward to getting on with the training the following day.  I should say that the walk to and from the pool was 10k over the day.

We celebrated Jack’s 16th birthday and all sang happy birthday as the cake was presented to him!



Day 2

Day 2 started really early – approximately an hour early for some due to the clock changes as alarms went off at 4.35am by mistake!  The first training session was really quite bizarre.  Getting into the outside pool in the pitch black and getting out in sunshine!  Apparently the pool is quite salty but all the swimmers were amazing and impressed the coaches with their 6000m set!    I’ve never seen so much breakfast being eaten quite so quickly!  A second session in the pool followed in the afternoon with the swimmers smiling through the rain showers – so a total of 10,700m swum in one day – impressive stuff.

Nick Simms was awarded the prestigious ‘Red Hat’ award for being top swimmer of the day.  Who will it be tomorrow?!

A trip to the beach pre supper was a lovely way for the children to unwind and to explore a bit of Torremolinos.

A team quiz was held in the evening helping the swimmers to bond and have a bit of a laugh!


Day 3

A day of two halves … rain and shine!  Initially the rain came down … and down and down and down.  The day started at 5am (on purpose this time rather than an hour early!) but luckily the session was inside so whilst the walk to and from the pool was somewhat ‘wet’ at least the swimmers were warm inside!  A mighty breakfast fit for swimmers definitely then hit the spot!  The morning chill-out was much needed to sneak in some more sleep, chill with friends or learn new card games – it was lovely to see!  Then after lunch it was back to the inside pool.  Determination and great spirit was in evidence today as the tiredness and aches and niggles started to appear but the swimmers continued to be impressive and the sunshine for stretching after the session was a welcome sight! 

Harry Block won the ‘Red Hat Award’ today for over-coming adversity yet continuing to give 125%.

The evening’s entertainment was “Bingo with a Twist” as hosted by Bingo Maestro Sherri … never before have the swimmers shown so much interest in Fly and Breast!!




Day 4

Another 5am start with our training this morning seeing the swimmers in the next lane to an Spanish Olympic swimmer!  A drills session was a welcome relief for some whilst others were chomping at the bit for more sprints - you can never please them all! The whole team had an outing to the beach where some dare devils just couldn’t help but go into the sea, even in their pants!  The highlight however was the frozen yogurt shop on the way back to the hotel with some trying out the free fish manicure tank next door! 

Surprisingly this afternoon’s run was met with whoops rather than dismay – we’re obviously not working them hard enough!  And this was after a sprint set which was pretty intensive so again the squad hugely impressed us with their stamina.

Lizzie Humphreys was awarded the now sought after Red Hat Award for her grit and determination.


Day 5

We were well over half way through and yet still the children were up and ready for swimming at what now seems like normal-o’ clock (5am)!  The same however can’t be said for Sherri and I who appreciated an accidental lie-in (of a whole 20 minutes)!  There was a spring in the step today as the swimmers relished the fact there was only 1 training session, helped by the fact that the sun actually came out too!  A competitive spirit was in the air at breakfast too with the ‘pancake eat-off’ …!  Who won shall remain nameless but congratulations from us all!

Alfie Baum was the Red Hat Award winner today for his consistency and effort at all times.  Well done Alfie.

Free time saw sleeping for some, sunbathing for a few adonis’s and a table tennis tournament for others – well done to Josh for winning!

The visit to the Crocodile Park in the afternoon was fun and a real highlight of the week– with a ‘snappy’ demonstration and everyone being really brave, cuddling a 6 month old baby croc!  Thanks to Wendy for organising a great trip.

The swimmers were well rested which was just as well as it was Challenge Day in the outdoor pool the following day.



Day 6

A much needed lie in (5.50am!) was much appreciated by all today to prepare us all for Challenge Day!  The first session saw the swimmers see how many 400 meters they could do in 90 minutes and they amazed us all, and themselves, with everyone beating their goals.  Jack led the way with a massive 18 x 400 metres (and an extra 100m too)!  Fantastic swimming by all.

Chill out saw sunbathing, sleeping and generally relaxing to re-energise for the afternoon’s 100m challenge!  Surpassing Ian’s expectations everyone pushed themselves to the limit and beyond.  Simply awesome!

And even at the end of this those that needed their GCSE swimming filmed managed to do it with a smile.

The final Red Hat was awarded to both Charlotte and Jack for their effort and performance throughout both Challenges.

An evening out was in order to celebrate the week’s achievements so we ventured out into Torremolinos for a team pizza, bumping into Mickey and Minnie on the way. 


Day 7

So all too soon we were on the final day of BaT Camp which had seen 65k+ of swimming over 22 hours with minimum 10k walking every day – and still the swimmers managed to put in some PBs at the end of the last session.  Training was as normal this morning with a more relaxed feel this afternoon with some fun relays to finish off what has been a hugely enjoyable camp.  Ian Blyth showed the squad what he was made off by taking on Ben in a 100m freestyle race!

The Red Hat winners for the day were Ella for her fabulous underwater phase and Ben for being the pace maker all week.

The evening saw awards for each and every swimmer from First To The Tuck Shop Award, to Funkiest Trunks When Remembered Award through to the Forest Gump Award and Bravery Award.  The swimmers all voted for who they though had got the most out of the camp with the prize going to Jack for the boys and Laura for the girls. 

As a special treat for being so good throughout the week the swimmers watched the Rugby World Cup play off for 3rd & 4th place and then it was off to bed, ready for the 4.50am alarm call the next day.