Crystal Palace Team Managers report

15th-16th September 2018

08:00 saw all 29 of the swimmers aged 12-15 years old and 6 County coaches arrive for the sixth Berkshire and South Bucks County Regional Level camp at Crystal Palace. Swimmers this year arrived from Newbury, Reading, Bracknell, Windsor, Chesham, Chalfont, Wycombe, Maidenhead 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 County Coach and Lead Coach for the camp this year was Lauren Turner (Chalfont), Cat Holmes (Reading) Chris Glover (Windsor), George Longhurst and Joe Evans (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 end 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. The swimmers were joined in the pool by Ekaterina Avramova, twice Olympian (2012, 2016)

After lunch, Ekaterina (Katy) shared her personal story with the swimmers, brought some of her medals into show, and the swimmers had opportunity to ask questions. 2018 saw the return of visiting coach Ron Philpott, who then prepared and primed the swimmers for the next pool session by inviting them 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. After the pool session, each swimmer spent some time reflecting on the day, noting learnings and insights.

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Post dinner Joan asked the swimmers for feedback and adapted the evening session to satisfy some of the swimmers wishes whilst Ron took the Coaches, using his journey of key influencers through to his philosophy during his career encouraging each one of them to think about why they are in swimming coaching, why they are doing what they are doing.

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. Before the pool session Josh took the team through the analysis of their feedback of day one and highlighted changes to the programme as a result of their comments. 07:45 saw the start of the first 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 post training recovery.

Following lunch Josh and the coaches encouraged more reflection before they went to the pool for their final pool set, where the coaches acknowledged the swimmers for their hard work and focus alongside their own learning, and Josh closed the session, linking back to his three expectations.