For the third year in a row, we returned to Lake Sarnen in Switzerland for a pre-season training camp in early September 2018.
A squad of 14 athletes comprising both returners and new recruits set their alarms for the horribly early time of 0245am to head from Oxford –> Luton –> Zurich –> Sarnen. Greeted by glorious blue skies, stunning picturesque mountain scenery and a glassy 5km Lake Sarnen, we were all keen to jump straight into training. We were treated to a week of perfect rowing conditions, ideal for the small boat training we had planned.
As with previous years, this camp predominantly focussed on technique, with long steady state paddles mixed with pure technical sessions in singles, pairs, doubles and a coxless four. We couldn’t help but take advantage of the spacious lake, regularly rowing eight boats side by side. The space also allowed Head Coach Chris O’Hara to get creative with his sessions, inventing what he claims to be the first ever omnium-style “elimination race” of blocks of r18 paddling interspersed with 30 second free rate bursts, with the boat in last place being eliminated at the end of each sprint.
As well as Chris and assistant coach Jill Betts, we were joined by our nutritionist Jasmine Campbell and sports psychologist Heather Moon who both give excellent support to aid our recovery between sessions and preparation for the upcoming season.
This training camp, as with previous years, was an incredibly valuable opportunity for our squad to kick off our season in preparation for the 2019 Boat Races. We cannot thank Chris, Jill, Jasmine and Heather enough for their dedication in organisation, planning and running of the camp, as well as the team at Swiss Rowing for hosting us and allowing our use of their facilities.