After several weeks during the Easter holiday featuring slightly less training and more Easter eggs consumed than would probably be advised, it was time for our annual Easter training camp. The purpose of this camp is to build upon the solid base built over the Head season and work on developing the speed and fitness required for the upcoming Regatta season. Training camp also offers the perfect opportunity for seat racing to take place and also some much-needed integration and socialising between all squads in the club.
For the third year in a row, we held our Easter training camp in the Netherlands at TSR Vidar, which is located in the south of the country. The Brabant Rowing Centre boasts excellent facilities including a fully refurbished gym, a 2km rowing course with the option to be able to row for almost 18km uninterrupted, and enough cheese toastie makers to satisfy even the most indulgent of our squad members. Following a long journey, which set off from campus and made its way through Dover and Calais, we eventually arrived in Tilburg. Our club was based at the nearby Safari Park of Beekse Bergen where our accommodation was some very colourfully painted bungalow houses which housed 6 rowers each.
A typical day started early at 6:30 every morning with the rowers fueling up with food before heading out for the first rowing session of the day which typically was a tech session to make sure everyone was wide awake and switched on. After this first session, all crews got the chance to have a proper breakfast and chat before heading out for another session on the water. This was followed by lunch and the day was rounded off by a work session just to make sure everyone had earnt their dinner which was provided by the lovely staff at TSR Vidar.
The opportunity to row on a course which allows up to 5 boats to battle paddle against each other proved a stark contrast to the narrow, windy waterways of the River Avon and we made sure to put these facilities to great use. People often say that the technical progress made during one week of training camp is the equivalent to that made in two months during term time, as the athletes get detailed feedback between sessions and are able to go out and hone their skills from one session to the next with few distractions. This was noticed by members of all our squads who felt that their technical ability and fitness had vastly improved over the course of the camp. Overall, the trip was a huge success as many great memories were made and the progress in rowing terms is sure to see us become more competitive in the future.
Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible and TSR Vidar for being such wonderful hosts. In particular, I would like to extend a massive thank you to our sponsors STA Travel who covered the cost of our coaches and trailering to Tilburg. Without their support, a trip of this scale which allowed us to take 68 rowers would not have been possible. Further, I would also like to thank STA for being excellent sponsors throughout the whole year and I look forward to working with them in the future.