It’s swim camp time with Tanja & Stephan

Hey buddies, 7 days ’til the big day and still there is nothing under the tree, oops had better get shopping I think !
Before I take care of that, let’s talk about swimming….. love it ? hate it ? try to get it out-of-the-way as quickly as possible and get on that bike ? Or a combination of all 3 ?? I’m sure we all have our views and I know mine changes depending on the most recent pool experience but I decided it was time to find the real love in that stroke.

As a reward for my Running challenge, I decided to stay a 2nd week at Club La Santa and sign up for the Zoggs swim camp with Tanja Slater (former elite GB triathlete and cyclist, http://www.upandactive.com/site/about-us) and Stephan Vuckovic (Olympic triathlon silver medallist Sydney 2000, http://www.activetrainingworld.co.uk/news/2013/03/30/stephan_vuckovic_interview ).

The annual swim camp runs in total for 2 weeks, with 2 sessions a day in the resort’s Olympic pool (http://www.clublasanta.com/sports-activities/event,-races-training-camps/2013/12/zoggs-swim-camp-for-triathletes). I had opted for 1 week, so ahead of me and my fellow camp-mates was 6 days of swimming, swimming and more swimming ! We were grouped into 4 lanes based on experience and current ability, with Tanja taking the less experienced and Stephan taking the ‘grown up’ swimmers – and he worked them hard ! A little oxygen deprivation was in their future with cool-downs of 5 stroke breathing across the vast 50m pool (oh how I liked my lane !)

50m is a long way at the beginning of the week !
50m is a long way at the beginning of the week !

It goes without saying that the aim of my week was to improve my stroke ! I had already had some coaching sessions from Tanja and wanted to build on the progress I had made……. oh if only swimming was that simple 🙂

Have you heard that sometimes you have to go backwards before you can ultimately go forwards ? That was my week ! A few days of some back-to-basic work was causing me angst and frustrations. Over-rotation, under-rotation, throwing my head, breathing to the 6pm etc etc were being addressed one drill at a time but I was over-thinking it and trying to bring it all together too soon……. Time to trust the coach, a few deep breaths and relax !

Bingo ! The big light bulb went on with a simple drill that works on the hand-entry – the root cause for now was over-reaching and the impact this was having on my balance in the water. Suddenly I could feel something different, I could get a ‘catch’ and made greater forward progress in the water.

A work in progress, most definately
A work in progress, most definitely

As well as the hours in the pool, we had some evening seminars with Tanja and Stephan which were very informative. Some discussions on overall technique, nutrition and race tactics and even some new recipes for smoothies, including a beetroot variety.

At this point I would be amiss if I failed to mention the visitor that appeared in ‘our’ pool that week……. Jonathan Brownlee and his training crew arrived in Club La Santa during the week and I am a huge fan (even if some may consider me to have stalking tendencies). This blog isn’t about seeing him, but I did and he held a Q&A session one evening !! And he signed my ‘Brownlee tri’ swim cap……… 🙂

Brownlee spotting !
Brownlee spotting !

Ok, back to the topic in hand – swimming ! The week ended with video analysis (and the camera did add the standard 10 lbs) and more constructive feedback on where I should go from here – consistent application of what I have learnt and new core exercises it support my body position in the water.

We wrapped up our time with the coaches and buddies with a last dip in the sea-water lagoon. This was a perfect finish to a week of technique work and take a look at that sunset !

What a final swim venue
What a final swim venue

What a week ! Very much an emotional roller-coaster for me, with a few ‘toys out of the pram’ moments…… but I pulled on my big girl pants and got down to it 🙂 Thanks to some great friends, old and new and 2 very supportive coaches, we had a week full of smiles and laughs. I don’t think any of us wanted to come home and leave that pool and the bubble we were living in, but alas, we had to !

The 'best group ever' !
The ‘best group ever’ !

Time to sign off and get shopping !

Speak later

Catherine, Age Group girl

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