Cardiff Update by Abby Jones
On the 7th of February we went to Cardiff for our annual training camp, only a week before Long-Course BUCS. After enjoying the best pasta meals that Tesco Express had to offer, we did our first swimming session of the weekend. In this short-course training session the set was tailored towards sprinters and middle-distance swimmers; we had a choice of two sets to choose from, depending on our preferred strokes, which helped us to improve our stamina. Following the set, we got stuck into some relays which allowed us to practice our takeovers in preparation for the freestyle and IM relays at BUCS. After the session we were ready for an early night and we dreamt of the vast amount of training that we had ahead of us.
On Saturday we awoke bright and early, excited to sweat through the most rigorous circuits session that you can do with EUSC: that is with Dave of Dave’s Gym, of course. He wasted no time setting us a short yet punishing uphill run, so we knew we had a punishing session ahead. For the main set, one person was always peddling on an exercise bike, completing a half kilometre at a time whilst everyone else did different exercises. The session was gruelling, but Dave did a fantastic job of pushing us to our limits when we felt like giving up! After the circuits we went back to the hostel and enjoyed the free time we had in the day. Some of us had lunch at Pizza Express, some studious swimmers worked on assignments, while others enjoyed the best shopping that Cardiff had to offer.
Before long, we started our second swim of the weekend, this time in the 50m pool. We had a demanding freestyle set which involved swimming 100m freestyle within decreasing time limits. We swam for as long as we could, with our best swimmer managing to get up to the 20th 100m. After this session we ate a well-deserved meal at Zizzi’s, although the best was yet to come. The annual Fresh Factor loomed over us while we walked back to the hostel, and rehearsals began. Fresh Factor is an acapella singing/rapping competition which the Cardiff ‘freshers’ have to take part in. The performances are judged by the swimmers who have already performed in previous years. This year’s performances were of a very high standard, making for a difficult judging, although it was Zak Gibson’s rendition of Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ that took home the title. This left the losers to tackle 400 IM the following morning, much to their dismay. After the excitement of fresh factor, we enjoyed a relaxed evening of socialising.
On Sunday morning we woke up early for our final swimming session of the weekend. This one involved parachutes and bungee ropes to build our strength and technique, which made the set a lot more exciting! We also spent time videoing our dives in order to analyse our technique. After this session we were all very worn out (particularly those who swam the 400 IM) and ready to return to Exeter before storm Ciara hit.