Wyre Forest Swimming Club

Read about our International Swim Camp
 
For the first time in it’s history, Wyre Forest Swimming Club, based in the West Midlands in England, roughly 20 miles west of Birmingham, took a squad of 17 swimmers to the beautiful resort of Paphos in Cyprus during the Easter Holidays.
 
The aim of the Camp was to build team spirit, increase experience of swimming in a long course (50m) facility and, for many, for the first time, travel to a foreign land with a different culture, away from the their family group. This latter point was key in us assisting these young people to learn independence for both their swimming careers and future life.

The group consisted of 6 males and 11 females, aged between 12 & 17 years of age, supported by Head Coach Brian McGuinness, Team Manager Becki Rowley, Chaperone Mags Watkiss and Chaperone/Coach Emma Elwell. The team travelled to & from Cyprus via London Heathrow and Larnaca International airports with coach trips at either end. Accommodation was at the Aliathon Village complex in Paphos and consisted of apartments easily sleeping three in each with their own fridge, bathroom and balconies. There was space aplenty. The venue was excellent, clean, safe and superbly located for all our training and social needs, being just a 15 minute walk to the training pool and 5 minutes to the nearest beach.

Breakfast & evening meals were served buffet style in one of the Aliathon Village restaurants. The selection was huge, comprising of hot & cold dishes, food cooked to order and the evening selections being themed for a particular country (Greek, Asian, Italian etc) differently each night. There was also food aplenty for vegetarians & vegans and those with particular culinary requirements. Our lunches took place at the Tea for Two café/restaurant a short 10 minute walk away, where the food was of great variety, plentiful and great value with the service second to none.
 
Outside our rooms (we were all helpfully blocked together) was a sheltered area which we used for assembly and meetings, as well as a private pool with plenty of sunbeds & its own café/bar. The area was quiet and safe. Every need was met, it was outstanding and we could not give enough praise to this venue, so perfect was it for our needs.

The primary purpose of the Camp of course was to train and for this we used the renowned Yeroskipou Olympic Pool, which was a comfortable, safe and flat 15 minute walk from our accommodation. Our training times started no earlier than 6-8am or 8-10am in the morning and was generally 6-8pm in the evening although we did have a couple outside of these windows. Whilst, due to the time of year, there were some cold moments, when the sun was up, it was more than a little warm, which is, of course, why went there!

The venue itself consisted of a 10 lane, 50m pool. It is not the youngest venue on the planet, but it is outdoor with wide lanes and adequate changing facilities, synchronised training clocks at both ends of the pool and 2.2m wide lanes. The only issue is the deck level guttering is in need of repair; so we had a couple of minor falls as a result and a drinks bottle which disappeared down a drain too!!

We hired three lanes for 10x2 hour sessions, training twice a day for three days, one day off, then two more solid days of work; this was adequate for our needs, covering roughly 55000m over the 10 sessions. Alongside us were teams from Germany, Austria, Denmark and members of the Russian National team. There were also in the mornings members of the Trisutto Club, a professional Triathlon Club based in Cyprus at our accommodation venue. I made it my task to introduce myself to all those who were happy to talk with me from these Clubs and spread the name and standing of our Club in their home countries.
Outside of training we used the time and the sunshine to travel to Paphos Harbour, spend time at the local beach and had a wondrous Jeep safari on our day off, visiting and viewing some of the beauty on offer on this wonderful island. We also provided the swimmers with two educational sessions to get them working together to discuss and understand their training needs for particular swimming events which was extremely successful but we also invited two members of the Trisutto team to visit us and talk about their lives as professional sportspeople. This kept the swimmers rapt for a good hour and the sight up-close of a bike costing £4000 was particularly enthralling. Our swimmers too, gave the triathletes an insight to their days and work schedules which helped them to understand how they could maybe improve their swimming more.

As a management team, we worked very well together and as a group the swimmers were a credit to the Club, their families & themselves. Whilst you would expect with teenagers occasionally we had to help them stay in line, however there were NO disciplinary or welfare concerns that had to be dealt with at any time. All rose to any challenge placed before them and I believe all have learned and grown from the experience. Behavioural changes observed since the trip has reinforced this view.
I have no qualms whatsoever in recommending these venues for another Camp in 2019 for ourselves and other groups. Locals were very friendly, we felt safe and all arrangements happened smoothly without drama. Gorgo Travel were a pleasure to work with and went above and beyond what we expected to ensure our trip was a successful one. We would use them again.

Σας ευχαριστούμε την Πάφο και την Κύπρο, θα επιστρέψουμε πολύ σύντομα!     (Thank you to Pafos and Cyprus, we will be back very soon!)
 
Brian McGuinness
Head Coach, Wyre Forest Swimming Club
 
Yeroskipou Pool web        Swim Camp 18
  

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