For this year’s training camp (6th to 15th January) CUW returned once more to Soustons in the south of France, now the venue for three consecutive winter training camps. Thanks to the generous support of Newton Investment Management Ltd. and KPMG, CUW were able to take nearly 30 rowers, five coaches and three coaches away on camp, and start the year off on the right foot. The town’s rowing centre sits on the shores of a 5km-long lake which, with its buoyed 2k race course, was the perfect training ground for the squad to shake off our post-Christmas cobwebs and get down to some serious training.
Our focus on the camp was three-fold: to develop individual technique, to build crew cohesion, and to carry out some seat-racing to help with upcoming crew selection. With three training sessions a day and 173km of rowing on the training plan, we knew that we were in for a tough but productive week.
On the second day of our camp we had an opportunity to do some pieces against a crew from Bristol University, for whom it was the last day of their camp. Facing up to an unknown crew was a helpful experience, and it was also encouraging to discover that, despite being fresh back from the Christmas break, we had not lost much of the speed built up over the previous term’s training. Later in the week, the squad raced again, this time against each other and under conditions that mimicked those on Boat Race day. Two VIIIs and two IVs took each other on over 2km, with a victory for the heavyweights in the VIIIs race and for the lightweights in the IVs race.
For the rest of the week, the squad took advantage of the warm weather and flat calm water to lay solid foundations for the last few months of training ahead. Only on one morning did the conditions prevent us from rowing, with thick fog on the lake until well after midday. We spent that morning channelling Mary’s core sessions, with stretching, core and a few team-building exercises, including land rowing in crews. The newly-formed CUWBC Glee Club also used the opportunity to practise their moves, and at one point even managed to get Martyn dancing in his salopettes.
A rash of injuries also kept a few girls out of the boat for part of the week, but that didn’t prove to be any barrier to training hard. One afternoon a straightforward 10k run to the beach and back turned into a two-hour, half-marathon distance session when Jimmy claimed he knew a short-cut. Points go to Olga for apparently smiling the whole way there and back!
The last few days of the camp were dominated by seat races, which will help decide the composition of the three Boat Race crews and a spare four. Assistant coach Jonathan Conder noted that the races “resulted in some very close contests that demonstrated the strength in depth of the 2011/2012 CUW squad.” Selection will be finalised over the coming weeks, with competition for all three crews still looking fierce and with the final crews certain to be strong.
Coach and photographer Jimmy Appleton has put together this video to showcase what we got up to during the week.
Martyn Rooney summed up the overall success of the camp, saying, “I am very pleased with the progress we have made on the camp and we are now looking forward to some focussed training and sparring in the coming weeks.” President Izzi Boanas-Evans is likewise pleased with her squad’s progress and is looking forward to the next few months: “the CUWBC squad of 2012 is looking strong, and ready to push into the final countdown to the Henley Boat Races.”