The Vladswim Cold Water Swim camp in Melbourne once again provided some important lessons for all extreme Channel swimmers.
The camp hosted 23 swimmers from all parts of Australia including Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra and Perth. These swimmers braved 7 separate cold water swims in 15.5 degree water temperature. The tough swim conditions were exactly what every swimmer needed to test their physical and mental strength. From the first to the last swim, the swimmers practised feeding, swim pace, stroke rate and together created and shared their experience and learning from each swim.
During the four days in Melbourne, the focus has always on the swimmers and their cold-water adaptation, but without support people the swim would have ended sooner than planned.
Therefore at the 2017 camp, we improved our services by having a specific coach for the swimmers’ support team. It was first time that a new program focussing on the support team was introduced. The Support crew learnt new skills such as communication, feeding routine, assessing swimmer reactions and safety aspects of the cold swim. This program was run by Nicola Piha. Nicola has supported swimmers at most of the channels and long distance swims around the world. Nicola is going to part of the team and her coaching will specifically target the swimmer’s support team.
At the camp, swimmers were lucky enough to meet Tara Diversi. Tara is one the most experienced distance swimming nutritionist in the world. Tara swam the English channel in 2012 and she works at Bond University on the Gold Coast. Tara ran ‘fluid tests’ during a 3 hour swim for our camp swimmers. The fluid test and her lectures about nutrition answered many questions that the swimmers had.
In summary, the 2017 camp was a successful experience for everyone. All swimmers completed the longest 8 hours swim during which everyone discovered their weaknesses and strengths. This long swim was a real test on both their physical and mental strength in f cold water and therefore a large confidence booster ahead of the English Channel.