By Sarah Watson, Benjamin Mackenzie and Eve Cresswell.
Coaches note by Rebecca Clephan and Matt Newton.
The Junior Performance Camp 2017 was a fantastic experience, allowing us to row on the famous Olympic lake in Dorney, as well as rowing at Maidenhead rowing club and Longridge Marlow. We gained so many skills from the camp, on and off the water, in just the space of a week! These skills varied from refining our technical skills on the water, to managing our free time for revision, to team-bonding.
We arrived at camp bright and early on Monday morning ready to start training. We spent the first day at Longridge on the river, which was only a few steps away from our rooms. We went in a variety of boats and focused on skills and drills. After two tough sessions we then battled out 3 hours of revision, as well as fitting in some dinner!!
Tuesday brought fine and sunny weather and an outdoor breakfast of bacon rolls, pain au chocolate, cereals and fruit. We stopped at Longridge again today and went out in different crew boats. This really helped us to bond more as a squad. We did some long, hard pressure pieces. After another revision session, we were able to take part in Laser Tag at the camp….who would have known that Matt Newton was such a demon with a pistol?
We woke up early as usual and the girls rode to Maidenhead. The girls then had a conditioning circuit whilst the boys (after they had finished fangirling over the boats in the boathouse) were out on the water in quads doing six five hundred meter pieces. After a quickly demolished lunch we then switched (the girls did the water session whist the boys did the circuit). After that the boys cycled back to Longridge with an ice-cream stop on the way. Thoroughly exhausted but happy we freshened up and all went out for a lovely and well deserved dinner in Marlow.
We had to get up even earlier as we had a video reviewing and feedback session in the morning – which was very helpful. After a huge breakfast the boys set off and cycled to Eton Dorney. Our first outing was an eight kilometre pyramid session on the Lake. Lunch was followed by another eight kilometre outing which included a two-kilometre piece that was smashed by all crews!!
On Friday we a short morning session on the river, working on perfecting our racing starts ready for regatta season. The session was very fun and relaxed, which was a great way to end the tiring week.
Overall, the organisation and effort put in from the coaches and helpers was incredible, as they had planned each day so that we could get as much out of the experience as we possibly could. We were also able to find out a lot more about each other and the coaches- not forgetting Matt’s fear of small furry animals! It’s safe to say that we all had an unforgettable experience at camp and felt that our rowing had improved ready to take on the start of regatta season.
A massive thanks to Longridge, RGS High Wycombe, Maidenhead RC and Dorney for having us to stay. To Ross Clephan for Maths tuition. For Mary Merrit-Smith who found our missing double sculls blade. To our two squad parents Richard and Sarah; who kept both the athletes and coaches sane, provided lunch, transport, safety and camera work! Finally thanks to the athletes who were excellent ambassadors to the club and made us proud to be their coaches.