32 DSS-GB swimmers from around the U.K were lucky enough to attend two action packed camps in preparation for the European Championships in Italy this September. Both camps were run by DSS-GB coaches with a 1 day camp in Oundle at Oundle School and a 2 day camp at Sunderland Aquatic Centre. Thank you to Coaches Nicola Lacey, Alex and Cosmo Freeland and pool side staff Tracey Turner and Joh Sydenham who were present at the Oundle camp and Keith Hall DSS-GB Head Coach who organised and lead the Sunderland Camp, supported by coaches Andrea Manson, Betty Logan and Sandra Proudfoot.

The Oundle camp involved 2 pool training sessions with each session deigned to build on the skills that the swimmers had worked on throughout the day. In the first session, after a warm-up and drills session, the swimmers worked hard on their underwater work across the full range of strokes. This then lead into the second session where the swimmers worked on their Dive starts and breakouts using the underwater work that they had worked on in the earlier session. The swimmers then finished off with relay practices as relay team selections for the Europeans are due soon.

Day 1 of the Sunderland camp began with a 2 hour short course pool session with the aims of the session being to improve freestyle underwater activity and improve turn speed. After a short lunch break the afternoon started with an interactive sports psychology session. Keith talked to the swimmers about the 4 P’s of race day- plan, perform, process, prepare looking at each of the 4 areas in detail. The swimmers talked about physical and mental preparation before competitions and thought about nutrition and hydration during race days. This was followed by an hour long studio session. During this time Keith talked to the swimmers about the RMAP tool – Raise, Mobilise, Activate, Prime, used as a guide for pre-pool warm up. The day ended with another pool session the aim of which was to improve race starts and underwater phases and turns. The exhausted team headed back to their hotels for rest and relaxation to prepare for day 2.

It was straight back in the pool on day 2 for training in the 50m pool where our swimmers had the opportunity to practice their technique in preparation for the long course (50m) championships in 2 weeks time. The swimmers incorporated a lot of their learning from the psychology session from day 1 into their races today. After motivational and visualisation exercises in the studio it was back in to the pool for the final preparation before Italy to practice race techniques.

The 2 camps were a busy but an enjoyable time was had by all, many thanks to all the coaching team and poolside staff and good luck to all our swimmers competing in the European Championships.


Kathryn Stephenson.