By Jade Bogart
From 30th December to 9th January, OUWLRC had their winter training camp in Galicia, Spain. The squad returned to Balneario Laias Caldaria Baias, where camp had taken place last year. The location was superb, right next to the Miño River which is the longest river in Galicia. We were very fortunate with the winter weather this year, which although a little chilly at first, remained mostly clear, sunny and even quite warm in the afternoons!
OUWLRC’s stretch of the Miño River, right outside the hotel
As far as the training itself was concerned, the squad spent a lot of time in pairs, switching combinations and seats. As a technical exercise, this was brilliant. The pair is unforgiving to any discrepancy between the rowers’ strokes and so makes clear the improvements to be made. It is however such a rewarding boat when it finally works and by the end of the week there were some impressively fast combinations!
The success of this was evident in the ‘Ninja warriors on water’ exercise. Random combinations had the challenge of firstly spinning the boat both ways in the fastest time, then a 500m sprint, followed by having 10 successful roll ups. Combinations were able to work regardless if the rowers had been with each other before – some girls even switched sides! The ‘Pair’s Matrix’ at the end of the week was a similar success, with again random pair combinations doing a 1000m time trial: the fastest being Dani Edmunds and Linda van Bijsterveldt, who had never been in a pair together until then!
Aside from the pairs, the squad spent sessions in an eight, fours and sculling boats. OUWLRC have two girls trialling for GB Under 23s this year. This was a great opportunity for Dani Edmunds and Lucy Cross to spend lots of time in their singles and we look forward to what this year may bring for them! The camp also marked the start of seat racing. This was the first proper experience of seat racing for many of the rowers, and a taste of what the upcoming season has in store.
Off the water, the girls took full advantage of the natural thermal baths that were part of the hotel. The sulphurous waters did wonders for aching bodies and blistered hands. There was also cause to celebrate as the camp went over the New Year, and OUWLRC began 2017 in the most fitting way: hours of rowing chat and a long paddle the morning after.
The squad also had an afternoon off in which they made a trip to the nearby town of Ourense. The girls visited the old town, the famous As Burgas (thermal springs) and the city Cathedral.
The aim of this camp was three fold: to make technical and physical progress, to begin to have an idea of the final Blue Boat crew, and to bond as a squad. We most definitely achieved each of these by the end of the camp, but I think the last point deserves more attention than the others. Boats go fast when people row well, but they go faster when people row together. Over training camp the squad has become even closer than before and there is a real support network and team ethos which makes the entire trialling experience so special.
A big thanks must be said to our coaches and support team who made this camp possible. It was a brilliant way to kick off the New Year and we hope 2017 continues on this positive trajectory!
OUWLRC Squad 2016-17