My aim for Rio is to be the complete open water swimmer. I know my strengths which have helped me in the past and I’ll continue to work on them, but now I’m looking at the areas I know I can be better at. The British Swimming camp in Majorca was a great opportunity to start and of course gain some valuable open water training.
This year is was important for me to take a season out of racing the elite circuit however I still want to be ‘race fit’ for the start of my World Championships preparation in November.
I rarely get the chance to train in the open water in the UK and this British Swimming trip involved swimming in the sea everyday with all 23 swimmers along with a 5k and a 7k race too.
As part of our training, Bernie Dietz our performance director with head coach and former team mate, Alan Bircher donned their kayaks and joined us in the water on what we called, “Bernie’s sea safari”.
For me the aim of this trip was to learn new things like swimming in a pack while also practice things I am good at like bouy turns. During these safaris we practiced pack swimming, leading, drafting, feeding and turning around bouys. There were also more opportunities to race when we did some individual and team time trials, practicing skills like sighting. As a bit of fun we also did some elimination style rounds which were fun and different to anything I had ever done before.
It was great to put that training into practice on the 5 and 7k races. I was a bit nervous about racing as I’d not trained as much as normal. Racing with the boys was a great opportunity to practice pack swimming, something I would usually shy away from, preferring to lead, stick to the sides and away from trouble! This time however as part of mission to be a well rounded open water swimmer, I wanted to experience it and learn from it. Like most fears in life I found that it wasn’t as scary as I thought it was! The extra bonus for the trip was that I won both races!
I thought this trip was a real success, I had a lot of fun training and racing and I feel like it was a massive benefit on my journey to becoming a complete open water swimmer.
The next stage of my journey is to The Cayman Islands for The Flowers Sea Swim. The 1 mile swim and 5k will also be mixed men and women. The perfect opportunity to learn again.