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22nd-24th February 2002

Crystal Palace training weekend started at 4:00 at Watford Baths swimming pool. The coach was due to arrive at 4:15, however, not surprisingly we left well after this time, as it had inevitably taken the swimmers a substantial amount of time to organise their bags and kiss goodbye to their mums.
The coach journey was fairly uneventful, probably due to the fact that Marc and Rob weren't on it. However we kept ourselves amused by waving to the passing Londoners, and of course eating many sweets. The journey took slightly longer than planned, as we got slightly lost in London, and the driver took a wrong turning, so that when we arrived at Crystal Palace everyone was extremely relieved and excited.
Finding our rooms and getting our bags to them took a while, but we were soon down to the canteen and enjoying our first Crystal Palace meal. It didn't take long for us to get in trouble, within about half an hour of being in the canteen, Caroline had been told off by the lovely friendly chef, for bouncing on her chair and shouting a Shaggy song. Well, we had to make our presence known.
Later in the games room, some of the girls settled down to watch Top of the Pops, while the boys got in trouble again from the canteen lady for playing a friendly game of footy. We sought refuge from our friend in the canteen in Marc and Matts room, where World War 3 occurred in the form of an extremely vicious pillow fight, in time with some rather loud Bon Jovi music. Unfortunately Paul won, although Emily and Tiff put up a pretty good fight.
Most of the swimmers were in their own rooms by 10, and of course us girls went straight to sleep, needing our beauty sleep and wanting to be well prepared for the following day.
We were kindle awoken at 7:15 by a large group of girls who felt it necessary to run up and down the stairs, shouting Lees here. Very much appreciated! As usual, Tiffany managed to spend the longest in the bathroom, when we finally managed to drag her away we went down to join the others in the games room. Arriving downstairs, we were greeted with the scene of the boys already playing football and Lee surrounded by adoring fans.
A big and (of course) healthy breakfast was an essential and helped us to prepare for the dreaded first training session, which came far too soon. The session was very hard and it took a while to get used to the pool being 50 metres. And we refuse to forget that Stuart said we were the hardest-training lane that morning.
Lunch was a blessing, but before we knew it we were into our first land training session. And yes, Stu and Sťonaid support was very much needed, without them acting as cones for us to run around, we simply wouldn't have been able to do it. The session ended with a burpee competition, whoever could keep going for the longest was allowed to miss one 600 that afternoon. Unfortunately most of the girls put up a pretty poor show, with Emily giving up almost immediately, Carolines attempts at burpees were not quite as Lee intended, and Tiffany was convinced that Lee did not notice that she was cheating. Hayley kept going for a long time, before she realised that she in fact liked 600s, therefore did not want to miss one out anyway.
So as wed dreaded, our second session was 600s, for the whole 2 hours. We somehow kept going until the end, probably because of the thought of dinner Where we were once more told off by the lovely lady in the canteen.
After another delicious meal, most of the swimmers either stayed in the games room or in their own. In Marc and Matts room, somehow Marc managed the transformation into an Egyptian Mummy, with the help of some toilet paper. Luckily for Matt, our supplies ran out before it was his turn! At 9:00, most of the girls came down to the games room in their pyjamas and blankets, where we pushed all of the chairs together to make a big bed, on which we curled up on to watch Pop Idol. The boys were not impressed, but joined us anyway.
After an hour of Caroline telling everyone how much she loved Garath, we were all herded off to bed by Pru, who in army commander style patrolled the corridors to make sure that we were all in our rooms. Which of course we all were. Its what Hayley was doing in her room that really caused us concern. If she had eaten one more Mars Bar or drank one more cup of tea she probably would have exploded. As it was she was up for half of the night making random comments and dancing around the room.
Not surprisingly, we were all completely knackered and aching the next day. Hayley coming down to breakfast in her dressing gown caused some amusement among the canteen staff, but she was too tired to care. After breakfast we packed our bags and belongings together and sadly left our rooms for another year.
Another swimming session was soon underway, this time with a lot of kicking and pulling. Just what we needed to make our entire bodies ache even more than they already did. But the session was bearable, and we thankfully moved on to lunch, a depressing meal as it was our last at Crystal Palace. Marc was adamant that he was going to take one of the canteen chairs home, as he loved the way that he could bounce on them. Unfortunately that never happened.
After the meal brought many bundles in the games room, of which the girls spectated amusedly. Until the boys bundled on them. Ow!! Sorry bout that Jo it was nothing personal!
The following land training involved us giving our partners piggybacks, a painful experience, especially as our shoulders were already in so much pain. Just like the day before, the land training session finished with a competition to miss the first hour of training, this time it was crunches. Emily made us girls proud by keeping it up for a long time, the rest of us were just lazy, Hayley and Tiff gave up after about 5.
The final session was slightly easier, stroke work, except for the ten 1's sprint to finish us off. We were dismissed 30 mins. early to our relief, we staggered out of the pool for the last time and went for a hot shower. Leaving that pool for the last time was surprisingly sad, but in many ways a relief, we had survived Crystal Palace!!
Saying goodbye to Lee was sad, and the coach journey home was surprisingly quiet, Caroline kept all of the girls amused by doing their hair. Arriving back at the pool was in some ways a relief, but in many really sad. We had all had a completely wicked weekend, which had gone by much too fast. All of the swimmers would like to say a massive thanks to Pru for organising the weekend, and we cant wait to go again next year! Also, thanks to Lee for the training, and all of the chaperones, you did a great job too!

Tiff Rogers 2002