21 October 2018
West Suffolk Training Camp
West Suffolk arrived at Club La Santa after a stress & pain free journey at around mid day. After all of the rooms had been checked into, the swimmers had a chance to get some lunch. There were then a few hours remaining for them to enjoy the glorious sunshine and facilities, before the first session of the camp in the evening.
Forseeing a demanding week ahead and in light of many hours spent awake, the first session was relatively easy going on the swimmers. A chance for them to get the journey out of their system and help settle them into the camp.
Thankfully the sun kept shining on us all evening and spirits remained high through our evening meal and into the night. It was clear that the swimmers were really shattered and looking forward to getting to their beds as most had settled down way before the nightly room checks were carried out.
With a reasonable first session start time of 9am, swimmers had a chance to sleep in a bit although they were still up and about for breakfast by 7.30am. The first session of the day was focussed on kick endurance and like always this suited some more than others however all swimmers committed to the session with a positive attitude and were feeling the affects physically by the end.
Once again the weather was good so after lunch the swimmers had a few hours to entertain themselves, as usual the leisure pool diving board was extremely popular while others took to the golf putting greens and driving nets.
The evening session was an extremely hot one which saw swimmers having to exit the pool on occasion to re apply the sun cream.
It was also an extremely tough session which involved constantly checking heart rates and hitting target times but once again swimmers stepped up and gave it their all.
After the pool session, the team vacated the poolside and made way to the football pitch for a mini tournament. Swimmers were put into their travel groups for this one and Chris conveniently put himself into what he thought looked the strongest team leaving Dave and Pete to pick up the pieces. Needless to say Chris’s team won.
With an early start on day 3 all that was left to do for the evening was to eat dinner and hit the hay, although some swimmers still found the energy to play out on the athletics track for a bit before lights out was called.
The team awoke to a dark and fresh morning session which started at 7am. However knowing that the session intensity was slightly lower with the focus being on skills and alignment the swimmers, although obviously tired from the evening before, remained fairly upbeat and didn’t hesitate to get the session underway in the dark.
Despite this session being of lower intensity and volume than others, swimmers still seemed to find it difficult and it was clear that affects of previous sessions and activities were having an affect as the swimmers body language wasn’t great and many moans and groans were voiced.
The whole team however perked up during the mid morning team building activity when swimmers and coaches took to the lagoon for Kayaking and Paddle Boarding which they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
After some much needed motivational words of wisdom from the coaching team with regards to keeping the vibe positive despite them feeling shattered the swimmers really stepped up for the evening session which was arguably the toughest but best one so far. A noticeable improved attitude and aptitude was present throughout the team which made for a great and enjoyable session.
After the evening meal, swimmers enjoyed some needed down time and taking the advice of the coaching team most swimmers took full advantage of the opportunity for an early night and went to bed early asking not to be woken during the nightly room checks.
The swimmers were woken up early by surprise this morning at 5.45 and told to be out on the track ready to run in 15 minutes. There were some very shocked looking faces answering the doors as they were expecting their run at 7.30 however, not wanting to miss breakfast the coaching team decided to go earlier and everyone apart from 1 or 2 with slight injuries ran 5 kilometres or more.
The coaches also decided to split the sessions on this day into 2 groups so the girls swam in the morning 10am-12pm and the boys in the afternoon, 3pm-5pm.
Interestingly the split had a really positive effect and swimmers seemed to thrive on being separated as they all put in arguably the best session of the week in terms of a group performance.
After the boys session in the afternoon, everyone took part in a land training session out on the running track where, not to be deterred by a little rain, swimmers showed great commitment by working out as the heavens opened up on us. The only downside to this was that it left a lot of swimmers with extremely wet kit.
After dinner, the swimmers took part in a quiz brilliantly prepared by Chris. Swimmers were placed back into their travel groups for this which proved to be an extremely fair way to do it as the scores were all quite close in the end.
Swimmers were once again up early, this time however it was for an open water swim. Impressively all 32 swimmers opted to do this as opposed to a distance session in the pool so they headed down to the lagoon just before sunrise. There were plenty of shrieks as swimmers entered the water as it was initially quite chilly but once the swimming got underway I think for most swimmers it was bearable and most came out having enjoyed the experience. A few others however didn’t enjoy it so much and it’s safe to say that they probably won’t be trying it again anytime soon.
Those that didn’t hack the whole session of open water swimming were then asked to come and swim an additional swim session to make up for the volume that they missed out on.
Just before lunch Chris organised for all swimmers to meet down on the volleyball courts for some beach games with a focus on team building which seemed to go down really well. Some well thought out games and a great positivity from the swimmers made for some real fun.
Shortly after lunch it was time for our second session of the day, this time we were back in the pool for a big IM based session which again was quite high in volume the meters covered were racking up and up.
After this session a few of the girls went down to a Club La Santa Stretch & Relax session which they said was amazing and once complete they were beaming and saying how great they felt.
To finish day 5, the coaches organised another group activity. This time swimmers were back on the sand for a beach volleyball tournament. The swimmers really threw themselves into this one and their competitive natures were revealed.
In fact some swimmers and coaches didn’t want to leave and stayed out playing well into the darkness of night.
A heavy thunderstorm in the night meant that some swimmers did not sleep particularly great and at breakfast seemed particularly tired. Swimmers were soon awake however as after breakfast the whole team took part in the Club La Santa warm up which is a choreographed dance based warm up routine to music that happens every morning.
It was then time for what we thought would be the first and only pool session of the day. However the swimmers had to evacuate the pool as a result of thunderstorms after only 20-25 minutes, and from then on the pool was closed for a considerable amount of time. Subsequently the pool session was rearranged for the evening and swimmers went back to their rooms to spend time completing homework, log books or taking part in other indoor activities.
The evening session eventually took place in the North pool which was at the other end of the complex and despite the rain still coming down quite hard the swimmers embraced the conditions and really rallied together for a tough Lactate Tolerance session. During this session the swimmers were pushed to their limits physically and it was great to see such a united team encouraging one another throughout.
The final day of training for West Suffolk started with an early morning session. Swimmers were up and in the pool by 7am with a freestyle challenge set in which all swimmers made a fantastic effort to get as far through the set as possible before failing to hit off times. The team then assembled for a group photograph and went off to breakfast.
The afternoon session was race scenarios which had one objective which was to get swimmers standing up tall and swimming fast. Swimmers drew events from a hat and the deal was that if they swam within 3% of their PB they would have achieved the session objective and therefore they’d get more of a fun session. All those that missed their times had to repeat swims until they made it. In the end all swimmers ended up taking part in fun relays and the session finished with some free time for swimmers to take pictures and use underwater cameras.
All in all, it was a great camp, made by a great group of swimmers that threw themselves into everything asked of them. Swimmers should be extremely proud of their attitude and behaviour & it’s fair to say that a good time was had by all and memories made will never be forgotten.