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Cardiff Update by Tom Harrington

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On the 1st of February we travelled to Cardiff to undertake our annual weekend long training camp- the ideal preparation for the upcoming long course BUCS championships! After arrival we started off swiftly, with Garry setting the tone with a tough middle-distance set and sprint technique work for our short course session on Friday evening at Cardiff international pool. Swimmers’ moods were suitably buoyant as we settled down for the evening- satisfied with the hard shift we’d put in- but those who had attended in previous years knew what to expect come the morning; it was only going to get tougher.

Expectations were fulfilled as we rose early to make a short trip across the city to the infamous ‘Dave’s gym’, a pilgrimage of sorts for EUSC members. As he has done in years past, Dave put on an engaging and gruelling session; consisting of running, body weight and free weight training. The running in particular, out in temperatures close to freezing, certainly saw that any swimmers yet to wake were quickly shocked into action. Everyone had given their all and returned to our accommodation ready for some well-earned rest. Not for long though, as we had a 2 hour afternoon appointment with Garry booked at the pool, this time of the long-course variety. This gave Garry suitable time to take us through a variety distances and strokes, all of which had an eye on building the general long-course fitness of the squad, and ensured that every swimmer was pushed to their limits. We then headed home to catch the England vs. Ireland six-nations tie- a positive experience for most- which was then followed by the traditional training camp meal out on the town. Bill’s restaurant didn’t know what hit it when twelve hungry swimmers stormed through the door.

This was followed by a return to our hostel for ‘Fresh Factor’- another Cardiff based EUSC tradition. Therein, swimmers who were attending the training camp for the first time had to provide musical entertainment for the baying crowd, with scores handed out for pitch, personality, projection and dance moves. Hits such as B.O.B’s ‘Airplanes’ and the Black Eyed Peas’ classic ‘Meet me halfway’ were commendably attempted- as well as the renowned floor-filler ‘happy birthday’ even though nobody was celebrating theirs. The loser was given the task of a 400 IM, coming soon to a Varsity gala near you!

The following morning we woke with bags packed and ready to check out, but that didn’t mean the hard work was over. We headed over to Cardiff International Pool for one last 2-hour long course delight, again provided to us by the ever-accommodating Garry. Hard sprint work followed, with swimmers putting in a fantastic shift to squeeze every last drop of benefit out of a really fruitful weekend. Garry also treated us to some relaxed drill work at the end, some of which was unconventional- and as a result great fun.

Overall, it was a brilliant weekend, and it was great to see some swimmers from outside of the BUCS squad come along for the first time and seamlessly join in on the hard work. The squad certainly looks energised and motivated as we head toward BUCS. Thank you to senior committee members Sam, Eleri, and Eve for driving us there and around the city from session to session- it wouldn’t have been possible without their help. Finally, a special thank you should go out to Garry, who was in no way obliged to come and coach us for the weekend but kindly agreed to anyway and gave us great sessions that pushed us to our limits.

The team bleeding green in Dave’s Gym. 

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