07.30 saw some of the earliest of the 26 swimmers and 3 County Coaches arrive for the fifth Berkshire and South Bucks County Regional Level camp at Crystal Palace. Swimmers this year arrived from Newbury, Reading, Bracknell, Windsor, Chesham, Chalfont, Wycombe, Tilehurst and Amersham. Each club gets the opportunity to send a coach on a first come first served basis and the coaching team supporting Josh Atkins, the Assistant County Coach and Lead Coach for the camp this year was Giuseppe Caporaso (Windsor), Cameron Moffat (Windsor) and George Longhurst (Wycombe).
Josh opened the camp welcoming the swimmers and outlining his three expectations -Turn up, listen and then apply yourself. Joan went through the rules of the camp and then the first 45 minutes was spent putting those expectations into practice and starting to encourage the swimmers and Coaches to put the focus of the camp - consistent quality work to improve performance - into practice. We used a variety of games to invite the swimmers to challenge themselves, stretch themselves whilst getting to know each other's names.
This took us straight into three hours of training with one hour land work focussing on mobility work and preparing the swimmers for the pool session to come, followed by 2 hours in the pool.
At the start of the land training session Joan read out the story of John Naber who at the age of 16, whilst watching the Munich Olympics, converted a dream that he had into a goal-a goal that consisted of improving 1/1200th second (half a blink of an eye) every time he entered a training session to beat the time of the Munich gold medalist in his event. At the next Olympics John Naber got Gold medals in the 100 and 200m backstroke events in world record times which were held for seven years respectively. Josh picked up the theme of focus and worked it through the rest of the training sessions.
Unfortunately Ron Philpott, who was committed to coming to the camp again this year had called to say that his mother had just died and therefore regrettably would not be able to attend. Joan, Josh, Cameron and Giuseppe used Ron's materials to support the group in stretching their thinking of what it takes to move oneself, as a swimmer, from a good swimmer, a very good swimmer into a truly great swimmer when approaching a specific set from warm up, through the set itself and finishing with the cool down.
This conversation was used as the preparation for the 2 hour set in the afternoon.
After dinner, Terry Norris, the President of Berkshire and South Bucks County introduced himself to the swimmers sharing the County development pathway from Pre-County Development Camp through to the National Team County Championships at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. He reinforced the topic of goals and encouraged the swimmers to make them stretching and realistic at the same time. Joan closed the session outlining the rules for the rest of the evening, the plan for the morning and emphasising that Josh will be looking at their logs tomorrow morning.
Everyone was in their rooms for 21:00hrs with lights out at 21.15 and awake again by 06:40 for a 07:00 breakfast followed at 08:00 by a two hour pool set followed by a one hour land training set. The land training session focussed on building core strength and stretching as an effective means of both avoiding injury and aiding recovery.
Following lunch Josh, Giuseppe and George went through the swimmer's learning logs and reflected on the four strokes and helped them identify one small thing that would help them be better at that stroke, something they believe would help move them from being a good swimmer to a great swimmer.
After that we were back in the pool for the final set. Back in the room we asked the swimmers for feedback on the programme so that we can look at constantly trying to improve it, before Josh made his closing remarks and parents arrived to pick up the swimmers.