This Easter, the club returned to Canottieri Sebino, an Italian rowing club based on the shores of Lake Iseo for a two week training camp. Unlike previous years, this years camp was split into two separate weeks with the senior and novice men rowing in the first week and the senior women and novice women training in the second.
An athlete from each of the four squads has written up a short report from their squads' experiences of camp.
Kirstin - Senior Women
After spending two days together exploring Milan, the senior women’s team arrived in Lovere the evening Saturday 24th, watching the Boat Race together before heading to bed. With the men’s team having already had their camp, the boats were all rigged and we could hit the ground running with our first session at 7am on Sunday morning.
Throughout the week, the morning session was a long 16/20km paddle to get in some mileage, which was done in small boats to allow greater boat feel. After breakfast, we then had a technical session, sometimes going in the tank beforehand so Iain could explain more thoroughly the technical changes he wanted to see. After lunch and a few hours to nap or wander into town, the last session would usually be pieces or battle paddling in bigger boats. On the final day we also had the chance to race a few Italian crews from Sebino, with some of us even rowing with them in quads- a fun way to end the camp and practice the technical changes we’d made in a race scenario.
The high mileage and intensity of the week’s training meant that all came back to St Andrews fitter than ever ( the number of PBS in the recent 2k erg test is clear proof of this), whilst extensive water time allowed us to try out different crew combinations and gage our speed. We also had a lot of fun- multiple trips to ice cream shops, an afternoon hike to a hill top sanctuary, and ‘the skit’ performances on the final evening, ensured spirits were high and we left Lovere a closer team than ever. Training camp this year was undoubtedly invaluable for the Senior Women and hopefully now heading in to regatta season, our results will be testament to this.
Alice - Novice Women
Training camp 2018 was a great and unforgettable experience for the Novice women. It allowed us to improve and unite as a squad both on and off the water. The opportunity to spend a full week rowing in beautiful conditions, meant we could really focus on improving both our technique and stamina for the upcoming regatta season. We concentrated mainly on consolidating our work in the eight, through race pieces and long-distance sessions. However, camp also gave many of the novice squad the chance to try out some smaller boats, with three of the squad perfecting the art of capsizing! We were able to also appreciate time together off the water - particularly enjoying the ice cream and town of Lovere.
Ben - Senior Men
Despite only having a relatively small squad on camp, the Senior Men all improved dramatically throughout the week under the Italian sun. The large body of Lake Iseo offered a perfect opportunity for the guys to step up their game for the fast approaching regatta season. The sweep athletes spent most of their long-distance sessions rowing in a coxed four (a boat class that is likely to be a real focus for coming months). The four was split off into two pairs for a range of shorter sessions to sharpen their blade work and allowed for a bit of friendly competition in side by side paddling. Meanwhile, the rest of the Senior Men made use of the flat water to improve their sculling in small boats. It is hoped that the scullers will eventually combine to form a competitive quad. The squad came out of a great week of training and everyone is excited to race. The Senior Men aim to compete at Henley Royal Regatta this summer, in both a coxed four and a quadruple scull.
Ben - Novice Men
Despite tackling the enormous wake from the ferry and the inferior conditions to
the women’s week, the novice men’s team used the open water and beautiful
setting of the training camp to our full potential and capitalised on the intensive
schedule whilst having fun. Unlike the senior men’s team who had a more varied
training schedule, we were out on the lake as much as possible combining
technical sessions with paddling and pieces.
Jasper made us breakdown the stroke into individual sections looking at length, sharpness of the catch and not opening the hips too early. The composure that was developed from the single sculling sessions every morning had translated into our bigger boats by the end of the week. One of the main focuses for the training camp was implementing an effective transition to sprint racing and therefore, Jasper started adding sprint starts and high rate pieces to prepare us for our regatta season ahead.
In the final session of the week, we combined the mighty force of the novice men with Ian and Jasper for an all stars eight. “Here comes the speed” was the most rousing call from the bow seat and Ian claimed that it was the most fun he had ever had in an eight.
When off the water, the team explored the town, ate copious amounts of gelato and watched numerous Sacha Baron Cohen films. Following training camp, the communal goal to perform well in the upcoming regattas has been a bonding force and thus we are training at our full capacity. We are ready to springboard from the foundations we have made on the training camp to make this a successful end to our year.
The Senior Women - Easter Training Camp