"I started the new year of 2016, the Olympic season, in Australia on a seven-week hot weather training camp. A group of Bath NTC and Loughborough NTC joined together on the Gold Coast, at The Southport School, once home to Britain's offshore centre, for a great block of training as a team in the sun.
Escaping the winter chill
The main reason for going to Australia was to get away from the UK’s winter; as swimmers we go through high intensity training from September for around seven months and during winter the chance of illness gets much higher as our immune systems become suppressed. This trip was a great opportunity to avoid illness and having to miss out on any potential training gains.
Seven weeks on the sunny Gold Coast sounds like an amazing holiday, but as swimmers it was anything but!
The camp was a great success with everyone as individuals doing everything they could in training (Jemma pictured with her British teammates below). Seven weeks on the sunny Gold Coast sounds like an amazing holiday, but as swimmers it was anything but! For instance, on the first weekend out there we raced in tough conditions; outside in rain and storms, with manual timing while still battling through jet lag.
Some days were extremely hot and it took some adapting to get used to the heat. For the first few weeks I’d be sat eating my breakfast and even my knuckles would be sweating! It seems crazy now, being back in the UK when it’s still so cold.
Each week was like a normal training week, 10 sessions in the pool and gym each day, but we got to swim outside in the sun, which always made training that little bit better
Each week was like a normal training week, 10 sessions in the pool and gym each day, but we got to swim outside in the sun, which always made training that little bit better, knowing we were getting a tan if nothing else.
Most weekends we got time off, as we do at home, and we always aimed to do something fun, like going to the zoo, to a water park, or to beautiful islands and beaches. Although, sometimes at the beaches we would be too tired from the training week to get in the sea and do more swimming.
The time out there went really fast and before we knew it we were back home in the UK, back in the cold! What a great opportunity it was though, especially as preparation for the upcoming Olympic trials.
Edinburgh International Meet
When we got back to the UK we competed almost straight away in Edinburgh for what was our last race practice leading up to the trials. I completely didn’t know what to expect as I was still getting over the jet lag from the 10 hour time difference from Australia, but Edinburgh is always a great pool to race at as it’s a really good facility.
I was pretty happy with my swims in both the 100 and 200 butterfly; both were best times for the season so far.
Now with the British Championships just around the corner, there are only a few weeks of hard training to do before the wonderful taper begins! I’m looking forward to resting up and seeing how much I can move it on from the times I’ve done already this year. To qualify for my third Olympics really would be amazing; I’m looking forward to seeing what happens."