Mr White, Mr Satchwill and I left Bedford what seems like an age ago, having driven the trailer some 1300 miles to get to Sabaudia. Although it is safe to say that everyone has reached that point where they stroll into breakfast resembling your typical Hollywood zombie, with vacant eyes and a fairly unnatural walk from their aching muscles, everyone has been epic in their determination and commitment.
This is the first year in Sabaudia where we haven’t had perfect conditions for just about every session; we’ve faced rain, wind, more wind and some gales to finish off. We did reach a point earlier on in the week where extra straps were required to hold the boats down during a storm, not the weather we are used to. Our hosts have even provided the coaches with some extra waterproof jackets, which we very much appreciated even if they are a bit of a 90’s throwback, Mr White loves his! The students have handled the conditions superbly with minimal moans about going out in the sometimes sea-like conditions.
The staff and I have all loved the camp and found it extremely useful for getting to know some of the students that we don’t coach on a regular basis. We certainly have some characters in the younger years; Ben “Beats” Williams constantly protesting that we edited his blog posts (editing definitely required!) and then the year 10 girls squad seem to have endless energy, except when it comes to getting up for breakfast. Phoebe Wright, Hope Chouffot, Georgia Smith and Emily Watson require a special mention as ROOM 213, the first stop when it comes to reducing the noise throughout the hotel!!
As with most years on camp, the senior and J16 crews have been putting in some serious mileage. They have faced tough conditions all week but this hasn’t stopped them pushing boundaries physically and mentally. The development and improvement of all of our year11+ crews is a key factor to why we come away every year. I think this camp has seen the biggest step forward from all of our leading boats and am excited to see how they will get on back in the UK. This commitment hasn’t come with sacrifice though; Tom Rowe has slowly been drilling through the back of his heel with the worlds largest blister (we have perfected the endless bandaging and strapping applied to the most awkward place on the body), numerous hands are starting to look raw, Lauren has managed to hurt her big toe, and of course the usual aches and pains that come with pushing yourself so hard. None of the above has hampered their own preparation for the sessions and not going out hasn’t passed the lips of any of them. A tough bunch!
Each year one of the main worries when organising the camp is how the year10 students are going to cope with numerous aspects of the camp; sharing rooms together, the relentless timetable of early morning and rowing sessions, and how their bodies are going to cope with the significantly increased mileage. This year they have all committed themselves excellently. Of course there has been one or two that required a session in the launch to “recover” and I’m sure it had nothing to do with spending a sunny afternoon being driven around in a speed boat(!), but they advancement in their rowing is hard to measure. Both boys and girls squads have made massive steps forward in their rowing ability, and their energy around the hotel has been a welcome addition. They are an encouraging group to have involved at BMSBC and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can achieve in the future.
Mr White, Mr Honnor and Mr Ruta have once again been fantastic at ensuring the revision timetable has been stuck to, as well as offering their expertise whenever required to whoever needs it. Their commitment through the camp is second to none, with the students generally working for 3-4 hours a day, some more than. Hopefully this will put all of the students in a strong mindset for the rest of their holidays and into the exam season.
Sharing the hotel with the Slovakian Kayak Team was a worry initially. The average height is about 6’5 and they carry a certain “presence” when they enter the room. However, our students have been exceptional in the way they have conducted themselves around the hotel. With less than 24 hours to go I’m hoping for the first year that I don’t get shouted at in Italian by the hotel manager!
To summarise, another successful camp where speed and style has been developed on the water, and a greater TeamBMS spirit has been built on land. We now enter a crucial point in the year where the pressure increases in all aspects of life, however everyone should feel like they are leaving the camp knowing they are supported by their crew mates and staff that are willing to help however possible.
The coaching team and I wish you all a safe journey home and an enjoyable rest after a tough week away. Mr Satchwill and I are extremely excited about about another 2 days in the truck to get the equipment home I’m sure you can imagine. Thank you all for such an enjoyable camp!