On Tuesday 7th April 2009, 29 rowers ranging from year 9 to year 12 met at 2.45 am to depart for a training camp in Banyoles, Spain.
Banyoles is a small town in the north east of Spain, near Barcelona. It has a 2000 metre natural lake and was the venue for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
We arrived in Banyoles at 11.00 am and checked into our base at Hotel Mirallac, which overlooks the lake. Wasting no time, we went down to the Banyoles Boat Club (Club Natacia) to rig the boats and start our first training session.
The camp’s daily schedule consisted of three hard training sessions, where we developed our technical and physical ability on the water. Our first session was before breakfast at 7.00 am and lasted until 9.00 am. We would then go back to the hotel for a very large buffet breakfast. A study period followed, allowing GCSE & AS level students to revise for their forthcoming exams. The second session took place at 11.00 am and finished at 1.00 pm followed by a large lunch. We then had a break until 3.00 pm where we could relax, go into town or watch films before our third and longest session of the day. This three-hour stint lasted until 6.00pm and was a racing session where we did practice pieces at full pressure and also practised our racing starts. Dinner followed at 7.30 pm, again with plenty to eat. Every evening we had a video analysis session enabling us to examine our technique and prepare for the following day’s session.
On average we rowed 30 km a day!
On Good Friday the Boat Club closed at 2.00 pm so we went mountain biking and returned wet, muddy but thoroughly exhilarated. The weather was not up to our expectations at all times, and in one memorable session several rowers froze in a hail storm! Despite the weather we all had a great time and have returned with improved skills and are now much fitter, ready for the forthcoming regatta season.
Many thanks to the school rowing coaches, Liz Hoskins and Jane Delicata for organizing the camp, to Chris Jones for helping with coaching, to Tim Hughes for towing the trailer to and from Banyoles and to John Deutsch, Alex Deutsch and Carol Jones for their help on and off the water, especially with the skill sessions.
We hope that we can repeat this rowing camp again next year.