Crystal Palace Training Camp 2001
23rd-25th February

The coach set off from outside Watford baths promptly at 3pm, After an extremely long coach journey we arrived at Crystal Palace Lodge and had just enough time to unpack before a well appreciated dinner. Speaking on behalf of everyone the wide variety of food, big portions and gorgeous hot chocolate, meal times certainly were one of the many highlights of the weekend! After letting our food settle down everyone did their own thing but most ended up joining in our friendly football match against the American footballers. We won of course! But unfortunately for the chaperones their dream of getting us to bed before 9pm didn't go according to plan as most of us didn't get to bed until after 11...sorry!! 
Saturday morning brought many surprises as we all came to realise how hard our training was going to be, and it took those who had never swam in a 50m pool before a while to adjust. It was nice to see Stu joining in the session, in his nice multicolored trunks, sorry Hayley for embarrassing you, it had to be mentioned! Back at the lodge all the swimmers enjoyed a nice healthy meal of burgers and chips for well-deserved lunch. Afterwards most either crashed out or watched telly after a big disagreement over a football, courtesy of the New York footballers we believe. Soon another training session was in progress, this time it was land training lead by our fellow instructor Carol Burrows. I'm sure she took delight in watching us all struggle to manage a few press ups. After that it was another two hour session in the pool again. This time Lee decided to finish the older ones off with a nice fly set I'm sure we all enjoyed!.  Saturday evening brought war, girls V boys, as numerous rooms were trashed, swimmers found their toilet seats covered in butter, beds covered with toilet paper and mouldy oranges left on pillows, but who was to blame???? After our initial war Marc and Robert found themselves being dressed up as women, (a favourite pastime of Marcs). Yet again the swimmers didn't get to bed as early as planned. Lees hopes that we would be so tired after training we would go straight to bed were ruined as the excitement of being away got to us all.
It was a struggle to get out of bed on Sunday morning, those who could manage to walk to the window found a nice surprise, I felt it necessary to wake my room mates Caroline, Tiffany and Hayley up by running around the room screaming wake up its snowing! We were all extremely tired as we walked down to the pool for the morning session. Lees attempt at waking some up by snowballing them was greatly appreciated I'm sure. Another 2 hour session was soon in full swing and most swimmers were becoming more accustomed to the longer length pool. At this point I think most limbs were starting to ache.. a lot! Before we knew it we were sitting down to eat our last meal at the Crystal Palace lodge, it was quite sad that our weekend away was nearly over. During our 2 hour break most choose to either play in the games room or rest in the comfy chairs in the backroom. Carol gave us a nice land training session to wear us out, being lead by Marc we were made to run around the hall in a line following his path....different but amusing as we got to laugh at Lee tagging along at the back struggling to keep up. Well it certainly had the desired affect as most of us were left red in the face and looking like we had just run a marathon! Stu impressed us again this time with his press-ups and sit-ups! We didn't get a chance to rest as we were quickly made to get in the pool for the last session. And yes it was painful. The younger ones got off lightly with a set of 150m, 100 and 50m fly but for the older ones Lee finished us off with a nice 400m, 300m, 200m and 100m fly not forgetting we were swimming in a 50m pool! After the session we were all taken over by hunger and suddenly all the sweet machines were bombarded with hungry swimmers. As we all pilled onto the coach to go home most breathed a sigh of relief at last the training was over but we were all sad to be going home. It was a very hard weekend but also really fun. I would recommend it to any swimmers wanting to improve.
Lastly on behalf of all the swimmers that went I would like to say a big thanks to Lee and Carol for the training, also to the chaperones Sťonaid, Stu, John, for putting up with us and a special thanks to Paul Cuthbert for arranging the whole event. Thanks everyone....lets just hope it pays off!

Amanda Weller