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Swim Camp Blog

posted 4 Nov 2016, 02:09 by Didcot Barramundi

Here is the fantastic set of blogs sent by Sherri from Thame to all the BaT Camp swimmers' parents.

Such a lovely way for us to keep up to date with how they were all getting on.

Hope it inspires even more swimmers to take part next year...


BaT Camp Triumph – Torremolinos – October 2016


Another fabulous swim camp took place in Torremolinos during October half term!

Thank you so much to the Cooke family who kindly sponsored the kit with the swimmers sporting red hoodies, t-shirts and swim camps - they certainly stood out from the crowd!

Also thank you to Ian Blyth for 'Heading' up the coaching team and Sherri Cozier and George Finch working on technique - strokes have been transformed over the week and fingers crossed for reaping the rewards in the forthcoming galas! We are especially thankful as they gave up their time off work to keep the swimmers safe, fed and entertained.

Thank you also to Katharine one of the Didcot parents who was one of our chaperones, we received a lovely email from her on her return..."Thank you again to Thame club for including us in this fantastic week - all of the swimmers were a pleasure to accompany and the Barramundi swimmers have had a great time, hugely benefited and are motivated to get back to their regime and hopefully some pb's. They have also made some lovely new friends and I hope that they all keep in contact".


The daily updates of camp are the bit that keep the parents at home entertained....

*So, after a 5am start, the team of 21 swimmers all arrived at Gatwick in their shiny new red BaT camp hoodies, full of smiles and energy. After only a minor delay and the longest plane taxi’ing any of us have ever experienced, we were off!  The final descent came with much turbulence and a bit of a bumpy landing, but we landed safely, were met with sunshine and found our way to the Hotel Griego Mar – a familiar sight for last year’s victims/athletes.
*With ideas of a relaxing afternoon, the swimmers were soon brought down to earth when Head coach Ian Blyth announced they had one hour to get unpacked, changed into land training kit and be back downstairs with their skipping ropes.  A 30 minute uphill trek to the outdoor pool gave everyone chance to see where the weeks training would take place, before George put them through their paces with jogging round the track, and a circuit set during which one of the ‘Bens’ was heard to utter the words “Oh my, this is only day1!”

*Dinner came, and chips, pizzas and ice cream were very popular - we have to lull them into a false sense of security – sensible food from tomorrow ;-) Early to rooms tonight at 9pm, with phones all handed in to chaperones without any squabbles is a good sign of things to come. Every single one of the squad have been in high spirits all day, keen to work hard, keen to socialise with each other and an absolute pleasure to be with – long may this continue.

*Sunday started well, with only one room missing their alarm and missing the 6:15am meeting time. 

*No land training today, but with nearly 12k swum and 10k walked, along with mobility and stretches, there has been no room for slacking!
*Session 1 this morning was an endurance set using all four strokes, and seemed to be such a challenge that one of the boys even lost their underwear! Not naming names, but they would have probably only fit our largest swimmer!
*After a stroll to do some stone skimming at the beach for many, the afternoon was more technical based offering the squad an opportunity to apply the tips fed back by the coaches, who battled on through torrential rain.

*A red swim hat was awarded to 'the swimmer of day' for each of the two groups based on effort and attitude - huge congratulations to today's winners .......Ben Williams and Issy Langley.

*The evening entertainment led by Ian's team was 'Heads Up' where one competitor struggled to guess his own name, and even when given the answer, one person was unable to guess Ryan Lochte - obviously a massive fan!
*With Rory just about able to keep his eyes open, they all headed up to rooms at the 9pm curfew ready for a killer of a day 2.


*All swimmers were up and ready to head to the pool again in good time. With a slight delay, the mornings swim started at 7:30 with lots of butterfly and putting yesterday's freestyle technique work to good use on some timed swims.

*The swimmers have started to feel tired, with reports of heavy arms and aching legs. Spirits are high however and everyone seems motivated to give it their all. After a brief chat about the importance of a balanced meal it was good to see a few less "breakfast donuts" and fizzy drinks at meal times!
*The afternoons swim consisted of more technique with a few faster swims based on heart rate - lots of energy left for  land training then!
*All of the swimmers really showed drive and determination during the evenings land training, with plenty of plyometrics and squat jumps (where one swimmer loudly proclaimed her wind) and body weight resistance work. It was good to see the younger boys showing off their pull ups to the older boys too! 

Red hat winners were:

Oscar North - for determination and making an outstanding effort to use coaches feedback in the swims.

Ella Simms - for maintaining a consistent high level of motivation during the swims and pushing herself to the limit during the land training. 

As George writes this (at 9:15) all swimmers are in bed sound asleep ready for another big day tomorrow.

*An extra 5 minutes in bed this morning made all the difference , and the swimmers were straight In the pool after mobility and warm up ready for a hard kick set of 1000 meters. Backstroke technique seemed popular with some real improvements evidenced with video footage and feedback.

*Just enough time for a quick snooze for some before lunch, to save energy for a sprint set followed by Georges land training which culminated in a ‘plank competition’ with the finalists  Chris Sims in third place, Maisie Randall in second battling through serious muscle tremors and Lizzie Humphreys taking the title ; all lasting well over 5 minutes!

*Tips of the day from George focussed on pre-competition warm ups , and pre-race preparation ; do's and don'ts.

*The evening’s entertainment was Bingo with Ben Williams being the overall winner, and an update on travel team points announced Sherri’s team as leading so far - reigning champions rule!!!

The red hat winners of the day were:

Ellen Ludlow for total commitment not only in the morning session, showing massive improvement after taking on board feedback, adjusting her work as advised to rest an aching shoulder and then giving her all again in the land training.

Rory Pridmore for showing exactly what could be done with kick with full effort and continuing to push himself throughout the whole day.

Early to bed tonight for some very tired athletes and some very stiff mums who attempted the land torture.

*What day is it? We seem to have lost all track of time! We only have 4 swimming sessions left before we head home.

*This morning’s session saw a couple of great successes with video analysis allowing a few of the swimmers to hone in on their technique and fix a few long term quirks - let's hope they can keep it up when we get home.

*With only one swim session today, the squad were up for a full day of rest and relaxation, as well as some very important team building fun. First the shopping, then the beach, then off to crazy golf - if you thought Ian was competitive poolside, don't play crazy golf with him! His team won the overall  trophy but they took so long to get round, we all nearly lost the will the live! After an hour in the amusements with Josh winning at ping pong, Lucy beating me on the basketball game and various older boys enjoying the toddlers musical rides, it was back to the hotel, but only after collecting all the inappropriately logo'd t-shirts they'd all ordered on the way out - apologies for any of these, we applied no sensors other than reminding them that parents would likely be washing them

*All swimmers went off to bed promptly, all secretly sneaking TV's on to watch the final of the Bake-off.
Today's red hat swimmers were:
Alfie Baum - for his solid determination, right through from the warm up, great attitude and technique work following feedback.
Maisie Randall - for working the hardest I've ever seen from her (and I've known her swimming for about 6 years!), and taking on board feedback to improve her freestyle no end

Wish us all luck for challenge day tomorrow; may the best (wo)man win!

* On return to the pool this morning, the swimmers were sad to discover the floating half-tailed lizard they found yesterday had gone 'to a better place'!

 *After a short warm-up, came the first 'challenge' ; 4x200 (1x200IM / 3x200free) in descending times. They all rose to the challenge with the last boys standing after 2 hours being Ben W, Josh W, Alfie B and Rory P - approx 32 lots of 200m !!!!! They were all exhausted...

 *Lunch was very quiet and as the week has progressed food choices have certainly got more considered.

*'Challenge 2' was made up of 3x100's in descending times, basically until they no longer made the times. They all amazed us with their determination to break through their own pain barriers, and impressed us with their team support - Izzy was heard to cheer "well done Ben (N) , I'm sooo proud of you". Josh W was outstanding as the overall winner. By now, many of the swimmers have found a new use for their swim hats as much needed ice packs, and have been given various stretches for their own specific needs.

*Even in 27degrees heat, George didn't let up with land training, where Ella and Lizzie won the squat challenge holding good form for 7 minutes. Nick battled through with a record breaking blister, and Lucy Day beat her fear of heights by climbing (almost) to the top of the rope.

 Red hat winners tonight were:

Josh Williams -  for being a winner in both swimming challenges, and displaying a strong desire to succeed in all he has been faced with 

Douglas Birchall - total commitment in all challenges, solid work all week and showing huge improvement in his freestyle form

Georges 'Team GB' were the winners of tonight's dingbats quiz, which we are assured they did not cheat in????

Two sleeps left...


*Yes, you guessed it, we swam again this morning ... Last day to get some technique analysis in, and things are getting so desperate that we actually got George underwater to observe!  If there is little improvement, it is not from lack of trying.

*Swimming this afternoon turned into fun with Ian racing Ben at freestyle, and thrashing him, and George racing Nick at Breaststroke just about nipping it at the end. Then, not wanting to miss out, Katharine joined in with the relays, doing us Mums proud.

*Ian spent some time with each swimmer (and coach) giving 1:1 feedback, asking how they will apply their learning, and how they found camp.

*It was nice to escape the hotel tonight, heading in to town for dinner and last minute shopping for home, and for gifts for the coaches and chaperones ; Killer coach cap for Ian, Lego for George, perfume for Katharine and charity donation in place of a gift for me.

*Instead of the daily red hat winners, today we asked the swimmers to vote anonymously for their 'Top Girl' and 'Top Boy', with awards being awarded to Lizzie Humphreys and Josh Williams.
*What a great week, and a great bunch of kids.

*Everyone is ready for home, but not looking forward to the alarm at 4:15am