GLL Sport Foundation sponsored London Disability Swimming Club took 15 swimmers on their first ever winter training camp in February 2015.
The idea was to offer the swimmers the chance to train continuously both in the pool and on land for a week without interruptions. The point of going abroad was to remove everyday distractions, offer a new experience and give swimmers the time away from their families that they would have to become used to if selected for GB.
Many swimmers are not offered that opportunity by their home swimming clubs for a variety of reasons. This can include the nature of their disability, the disparity in train-ability between the disability swimmer and able-bodied counterparts for many reasons.
The camp was a success all round:
“Can we stay for another week? I don’t want to go home” – Sarah
“It was the best week of my life forever” – Joe
“Being with the lads” – Billy
“When’s the next camp? Put my name down now” – 12 swimmers
“The chicken was brilliant” – Daisi (a chicken connoisseur)
“Love the swimming and diving” – Josh
“The camp was absolutely amazing, thank you so much for inviting me! I had a brilliant time! Thank you very much for the great experience!” – Grace
“Seeing Ryan’s face at Camp Nou was amazing” – Aaron
“I loved mixing with different people” – Carys
“It was great to get to know team mates better” – James
“Leave me here and don’t come back until Saturday” – Ryan (at Camp Nou)
Things the swimmers would have changed were:
Have a longer break between swimming sessions Have more shopping time
More chocolate in the buffet
Have more gym sessions and more machine work
More activities in free time
The weather – would have preferred it hotter.
12 swimmers would definitely do another camp;
1 would probably do another camp; I would go if people they liked went;
1 would go depending on the location.
We sent out a Survey Monkey survey for the parents to complete and had the following responses: “I think it was a good balance as it did not overload the swimmers but it did give the opportunity to do more sessions if wished”
“Yes, although could they done one more gym session?”
“The fact that the pool was so close to the Hotel meant no time was wasted in travelling between the two and the swimmers did not get tired.”
“It was ideal, the rooms were brilliant and the hotel was an ideal distance to the pool location.”
“Full board option was a great idea. No negative comments about the food, a good choice and opportunity to return for more if desired.”
“In terms of the food there was a wide variety of dishes available and no swimmer could say that there was not something that they liked or wanted.”
“Packed lunches were lacking”
“Very impressed one room was dedicated as the games room. All activities/games were very enjoyable.”
“Felt more tired in the morning swim following the day away. Barcelona was ‘ok’ a water park may be a good choice for next time.”
“Loved FC Barcelona as football crazy”
“Plenty of information prior to camp and greatly appreciated the daily update”
“The regular updates on twitter was seen by other members and comments made to me since we returned was that they wished they had come as well”
“I think these camps are very good for swimmers performance, self esteem, and the club’s esprit de corps.”
Head coach feedback
“Exceptional facilities at the pool and gym. Ideal for our swimmers. Hotel was in an ideal location and the staff went out of their way to be helpful.”
“The 2015 camp has been a success on many levels. Lessons will be learned from the feedback provided. Already plans are underway to run another camp in Lloret de Mar in October 2016. We could not have run the camp without the generous support of our sponsors and everyone at London Disability Swimming Club would like to thank them for making this marvellous experience possible”.